Keys to being Bear Aware

We’re in the midst of bear season and already there have been a number of sightings in and around our communities.

We’re in the midst of bear season and already there have been a number of sightings in and around our communities.  A black bear has been sighted around CastleRock, another in downtown Radium, and a couple grizzly bears have been seen just outside of Invermere.

The number one thing I want to emphasize to people is that our community is in the middle of perfect bear habitat and bears are going to be around.  A bear in our community is not necessarily a bad thing but should still be taken seriously. It’s extremely helpful to report a bear sighting in your neighbourhood or on your property so that we can make sure the bear isn’t hanging around too long.

It only takes once for a bear to become accustomed to our food.  They get braver and less leery of us because they’re getting a big reward: food.

Sometimes it seems that food is really all bears want in life. Up to 20 hours a day is spent on eating and looking for food.  Bears eat pretty much everything: berries, vegetation, salmon, insects, seeds from pinecones, and ungulates (hoofed animals).

Compare that to our average household milk which is only 1 to 4 percent. Anything full of calories, such as our food waste, fruit trees, bird seeds, and barbecue grease, bears will eat. It is bad for bears to eat our food.  Habituated bears become used to human presence and do not run away as quickly as a wild bear.  A food-conditioned and habituated bear can become a human safety risk – and destroy property.

Whether you’re out riding, hiking, or just relaxing in your backyard, there are simple steps that can help prevent human-bear conflicts, increase public safety and reduce the number of bears that are needlessly destroyed.

At Home: Secure all garbage in a wildlife resistant tote or keep inside until day of pickup.

Harvest fruit from trees/bushes as it ripens and pick the windfall.

Ensure all fridges/freezers are inside.

Remember: the best way to avoid conflict is to prevent conflict!

To report a bear sighting or incident call the RAPP line at: 1-877-952-7277.

For more informatio contact: Crystal Leonard, Bear Aware Community Coordinator (250-688-1511) invermere@bearaware.bc.ca or radium@bearaware.bc.ca.

For more information check out the Bear Aware website at: www.bearaware.bc.ca

Crystal Leonard

 

Invermere Valley Echo

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