Opinion

EDITORIAL: Public must be bear aware

Bears are just doing what comes naturally when they wander out of the woods and into a residential neighbourhood. The entire region is their native habitat and they don’t worry about town limits signs.

So when they are in a yard and come across garbage cans, they are also going to do what comes naturally — chow down. Bears are always hungry, especially in the spring as they come out of hibernation, and in the fall when they are building up fat levels for hibernation.

It doesn’t take long for a bear to realize that garbage is an easy source of food.

And it is that addiction that brings bears into potential conflict with the human residents of those neighbourhoods. Ultimately, it is the bear who loses because they are destroyed.

But given that bears act purely on instinct, the only solution is for North Okanagan residents to change their habits.

Keep your garbage can in a secure location, and while you are at it, pull down the bird feeders because the birds don’t need the food in the summer and the seed draws bears. Clean up fruit as it begins to ripen and monitor your compost.

It’s been suggested several times that bears creating a possible conflict be trapped and relocated to the woods. However, biologists will tell you that once the animal is addicted to garbage, they will walk for several kilometres to the nearest neighbourhood so they can indulge.

Eating garbage is ultimately a death sentence for bears.

With bear complaints rising in Coldstream, now is the time for residents to become more aware of their natural surroundings and how to live with their four-legged neighbours.

 

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