It’s bear season once more in northwestern BC

Remember the slogan used by conservation officers - a fed bear is a dead bear

IT IS that time of year again. Bears are coming out of their hibernation and some have already showed up in our communities.

Bears that are attracted into our communities and work camps by poor waste management quickly learn to associate people with food and lose their natural fear of humans.

These habituated bears may cause unexpected and unsafe bear-human encounters. They may turn over garbage cans and in some cases may violently protect garbage that they consider theirs.

Habituated bears eventually end up being shot by agencies whose responsibility it is to maintain the public safety (eg. Conservation Officer Service and RCMP).

The Conservation Officer Service advises the public to be bear-smart regarding anything that might attract bears during the spring, summer and fall.

If possible, place garbage bins in securely locked buildings. Bring out garbage bins on garbage removal day only and rinse them after. Double bag smelly waste like fish offal and place it in the freezer until garbage removal day.

Feed your pets indoors or clean up any food your pet did not eat. Take bird seed feeders and bird suet down until winter arrives. Birds do not need additional food during spring, summer and fall.

Clean your BBQ by turning up the heat and remove the grease trap after each use.

Do not deposit smelly matters like egg shells, fish offal and cooked food in compost piles. Only deposit raw plant materials. When camping, store garbage, food, soap, detergent, tooth paste etc. out of reach from bears.

If confronted with a habituated bear, please dial the toll-free Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line at 1-877-952-7277.

Anyone who repeatedly leaves bear attractants out may be issued a Dangerous Wildlife Protection Order and a monetary fine. This is to protect both fellow citizens AND bears.

Remember: a fed bear is a dead bear. For further information to prevent and reduce bear-human conflicts, please visit the Bear Aware website at http://www.bearaware.bc.ca/

Contributed by the Conservation Officer Service of BC