Conservation officer warns bears are leaving dens looking for food

Time to be 'bear aware'

The BC Conservation Officer Service is reminding residents, it’s that time of year again. Bears are coming out of their dens.

"They will be hungry and looking for easy access to food," said conservation officer Ken Owens.

"Food that will attract bears to neighbourhoods include, garbage, bird seed and compost. Fed bears quickly become conditioned to food handouts and will teach their cubs to approach people to get these inappropriate food rewards."

The BCCOS says the best way to stay safe, prevent property damage and prevent the unnecessary killing of bears that come into conflict with humans is to secure attractants.

"If you manage bear attractants around your house, worksite, or campsite you can keep your family safe and keep bears from being destroyed," says Owens.

There are several things you can do:

  • Keep all garbage securely stored until collection day. Store attractants in a sturdy building or place in a certified bear-resistant garbage container. Use certified bear resistant garbage containers community wide.
  • Bird feeders often become bear-feeders, so please-only feed birds during the winter months. Take feeders down between March and November. Keep ground free of seeds.
  • If you compost in bear country, create your compost pile inside a bear resistant electric fence.

"It is an offence under the BC Wildlife Act to negligently store attractants that may attract bears. The fine associated to this offence is $230," Owens said.

Conservation Officers will be conducting bear attractant audits within the Okanagan region to ensure compliance with the Wildlife Act.

If anyone experiences conflict with dangerous wildlife they are advised to call the Report All Poachers and Polluters or RAPP hotline toll-free at 1 877 952-7277 or visit the RAPP website.

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