A black bear next to a trash bin. (Mark Levisay photo)

A black bear next to a trash bin. (Mark Levisay photo)

Columbia-Shuswap residents warned September usually when human-bear conflicts highest

WildSafeBC says usual food sources for bears affected by summer drought conditions

With the coming of fall to the Shuswap comes the increased potential for human-bear encounters.

Julia Helland, WildSafeBC community coordinator for the Columbia-Shuswap, is asking residents to take a proactive approach to preventing conflict with bears this fall.

She said September is historically a month where human-bear conflicts are at their highest in B.C., with some communities already reporting increased conflicts.

Due to this summer’s drought, bears’ natural food sources have been affected. This means they may be forced to look elsewhere for food and come into residential areas more often.

“The best way to avoid conflict with bears is to avoid drawing them into the community with unsecured foods such as garbage, residential fruit trees, and bird seed,” said Helland.

“If bears don’t receive a food reward, they will move on, and the community will be safer as a result.”

A WildSafe BC release states residents can do their part to avoid human-wildlife conflict by doing the following:

  • Securing garbage inside a garage or sturdy shed and not letting it stockpile;
  • Wrapping smelly items and keeping them in the freezer until garbage can be disposed of;
  • Picking fruit and allowing it to ripen indoors or picking fruit daily as it ripens;
  • Taking down bird feeders;
  • Feeding pets indoors;
  • Cleaning barbeques frequently and removing excess grease;
  • Securing small livestock such as chickens and beehives with a well-maintained electric fence.

For more information on how to prevent human-wildlife conflicts, residents can visit wildsafebc.com or contact Helland by emailing columbiashuswap@wildsafebc.com. Those who witness a human-wildlife conflict are asked to report it to the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.

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