RESIDENTS are being urged to take caution now that bears are out and about.

Be bear aware, conservation officer urges

Bears are out and about in northwestern B.C. for another year

As the weather warms and bears wake up, residents are reminded to start thinking about items outside their homes that can attract bears.

Even without any problems between bears and people, it’s important to clear out anything that might bring a bear into town to eat and convince it to stay for continual food.

“No reports of problem bears have been reported to the Conservation Officer Service in the Terrace area yet,” said conservation officer Ryan Gordon, north coast zone, April 30.

“However, bears are awake and looking for food.”

Bears are foraging, looking for foods to replace their body fat that they lost over the winter.

Bears have an extremely keen sense of smell and can find garbage in car ports, sheds and vehicles.

The best thing is to not put garbage out until the morning of pickup, lessening the time for a bear to smell it and come to check it out.

The provincial Wildlife Act lists feeding dangerous wildlife as an offence with a $345 fine.

“Every year bears are destroyed because they become conditioned to eating garbage and unpicked fruit,” said Gordon.

Garbage can be kept inside a garage or shed if the structure is bear-proof, but should not be kept in the back of a vehicle or under a canopy, which aren’t bear-proof and will get damaged.

Barbecues should be cleaned of grease and fat, which are high calorie foods for bears.

That includes using a wire brush to clean the grill and removing and cleaning drip pans.

Cleaned barbecues can then be kept inside a bear-proof shed.

Putting an uncleaned barbecue into a shed could lead to property damage when a bear tries to get to it.

Bird seed or suet in bird feeders are also attractants and should be taken down in spring and summer.

Compost should have any meat, meat byproducts, fish and cooked fruit and vegetables removed.

Sprinkling lime on compost will help the process of composting and reduce odour.

Covering compost with dirt or soil or grass clippings will help keep food odours from getting out.

Pet food shouldn’t be kept outdoors or left unattended outside if pets are fed outdoors.