A black bear rips open a bag of unsecured garbage.

WildSafeBC asks homeowners to start taking responsibility for garbage

Increase in bear sightings a sign that Revelstokians need to better secure their garbage.

Contributed by WildSafeBC

Up until now, there have been relatively few bear sightings in Revelstoke this season, and those have been mostly just bears eating natural food in the wild. However that has all changed in recent days.

“Bears have been reported damaging property, getting into garbage, disturbing compost and stealing garbage cans in four different areas of town this week,” said Sue Davies, WildSafeBC Coordinator, in a news release. “Fortunately people have been calling the RAPP line (1-877-952-7277) to report these incidents, which helps get the information out there.”

She wanted to convey the importance of calling the RAPP line to report these incidents so that information could be gathered and shared. “People are worried that if they call the RAPP line, the conservation officer will come and shoot the bear. That is not necessarily the case,” said Davies. “Destroying the bear is the last thing anyone wants, and is only used as a last resort if the bear has become conditioned to eating human food, has lost it’s fear of people and is a serious threat to human safety.”

The first line of defence is with the homeowner to ensure that bears and other wildlife don’t get access to human food. Revelstoke’s new garbage bylaw (#2006) states that garbage must be secured against wildlife. A regular plastic or metal garbage bin will not protect your garbage. Unless you have one of the bear resistant bins, it must be in a locked shed or garage to keep it secure.

Other foods bears are attracted to are bird feeders, fruit, smelly compost, livestock and livestock feed, pet food, and dirty barbecues.

“Ensure these things are not available to wildlife and chances are that bears will just wander on by and cause no conflict,” said Davies. “The bonus is that removing the availability of these food sources also means that rodents, coyotes, and cougars are less likely to pay a visit to your property.”

For more information on managing bear attractants please visit www.wildsafebc.com. To report wildlife sightings or conflicts with wildlife please call the RAPP Line at 1-877-952 7277.

WildSafeBC gratefully acknowledges the financial support of Columbia Basin Trust, BC Conservation Foundation, the Ministry of Environment, and Revelstoke Bear Aware. Revelstoke WildSafeBC also appreciates the ongoing in-kind support from Parks Canada.

 

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