As spring arrives the temperatures rise, the snow melts, and before you know it the bears are out.
Sharon Wieder, Rossland-Trail Bear Aware community coordinator, says these animals will be emerging between April and May, and encourages everyone to do their part in keeping human-bear conflict to a minimum.
With bear encounters down in recent years Wieder says people tend to forget the risk bears pose to communities.
In 2012 there were 173 problem wildlife occurrence reports (PWOR), up from 164 in 2011, but a massive decline from 327 in 2010.
“The drop is likely due to so many bears being destroyed in 2010,” she says, “the population needs time to recover.”
“So many of these bears are needlessly destroyed,” Wieder says. Adding that proper waste management would prevent most of these deaths.
“The bears are just following their noses and are motivated by hunger,” she explains. “If they can’t find any food then they will go somewhere else.”
There are several ways in which people can reduce the number of bear attractants in their communities.
The primary sources of food for bears in populated areas comes from garbage, fruit trees and bird feeders.
“What most people don’t realize is, sunflower seeds in the feeders offer a large calorie count for the bears,” she says.
As for the garbage problem, the Bear Aware B.C. website recommends putting garbage out immediately before pick-up, freezing any strong smelling items, or investing in a bear-resistant household container.
While these containers, such as the TyeDee Bin, can cost upwards of a few hundred dollars, Wieder says it is better to have one of these containers rather than run the risk of a bear damaging your property or injuring a person.
Throughout the spring and summer months when bear activity is at it’s highest, Bear Aware will be holding workshops and educational public events to raise awareness for bear activity and how to effectively handle situations involving bears.
“In reality we are in bear territory, and need to act accordingly,” Wieder says.