Hungry bears up and ready to feast on garbage

Conservation officer warns tickets will be given to repeat offenders

The bears are waiting for residents to slip up with managing their attractants but they’re not the only ones with a keen eye on area garbage bins.

Conservation officer Ben Beetlestone has given out a few warnings to Glenmerry residences with unsecured garbages, following complaints from neighbours. Changes to the Dangerous Wildlife Protection Order allows him to fine people without warning but since it’s early season he’s giving people the benefit of the doubt.

“Basically they’ve had their only warning and we’re advised that in future we will be issuing a violation ticket,” he said.

“Education is obviously a huge part of it but it doesn’t always work and sometimes hitting people in the pocketbook might be enough for them to say, ‘You know what I rather go throw a toonie in the community dumpster versus getting a $230 ticket or more (up to $585).’”

A black bear with a limp has returned for more garbage feasting in and around Glenmerry, said Beetlestone, who assured that he’s monitoring the animal. The bear hasn’t been aggressive but he’s definitely habituated to garbage so his days are likely limited.

“Bears are led by their noses and they’re going to probably smell it but that’s all part of being bear aware and managing all those attractants, whether it’s a bird feeder, barbecue, feeding your animals outside or fruit trees,” he said.

“If people are doing what they can and the bear is still that persistent, they’re not necessarily going to get fined but we’d have to deal with the bear still nonetheless.”

He and fellow conservation officers have yet to destroy an animal this season in the Trail area and they’d like to keep it that way. Now that hibernation is seemingly over, he said it’s important for residents to do their part.

The bears are also on the prowl in Rossland, where Rossland/Trail WildSafeBC community coordinator Sharon Wieder said she just scared one out of her yard. She was not surprised to see the furry beast on garbage day and managed to get rid of him by using a handmade rattle can shaker.

Wieder is working on securing a bulk order of bear-resistant household bins for residents in the region to buy for a reduced rate but in the meantime is asking people to do what they can to reduce risk of habituating bears, which she said eventually leads to the animals being destroyed.

“I strongly encourage everyone to put their bag in some kind of garbage can for pickup day and put it out as close as possible to pickup time,” she said. “Even if it is not bear proof, it will be a small deterrent and also keep other animals out of the garbage like ravens, raccoons, coyotes and roaming dogs.”

The Natural Control Alternatives dumpster is in Trail’s public works yard in Glenmerry for anyone to use when needed. The $2 donation for dumping covers the cost of emptying the dumpster. Users are reminded to not abuse the system by skipping out on the donation or leaving items outside the bin.

Beetlestone recommends that composters don’t throw away meat products, lime it regularly and if it’s still attracting wildlife, cease it completely.

Bear rattle can:

-Fill an empty aluminium can (pop or beer or similar in size) with small pebbles and tape the opening closed

-When the bear shows up, shake the can vigorously and shout “Go away bear!”

-If the bear still doesn’t move, throw the can as close to the bear while staying close to the door or window of the house