Bears are out and about, and they’re hungry…
According to WildSafeBC community coordinator Kim Drescher, bears are always hungry. In our semi-rural environment, with housing developments often abutting forests, ravines, and animal corridors, it’s important for humans to change their behaviour and so reduce close encounters of the bear kind.
Davis Bay residents are currently beta-testing a new curbside Green Waste Disposal system. Green “wheelie-bins” for kitchen waste and garden refuse are to be placed curbside on garbage day, and householders have been provided with under-the-sink collection bins as well. Like plywood or plastic bin enclosures and most plastic garbage bins, the ‘wheelies’ are no match for a hungry, determined bear. Secure garbage inside a locked garage or shed until collection day.
When placing the can outdoors, drape it with a cloth soaked in bleach or ammonia – the smell will deter bears and other scavengers as well. “Bears look for easily accessible and profitable food sources; we don’t want to provide them,” says Drescher.
When encountering a bear in the wild, Drescher advises that “The main thing is never to run away or turn your back on them. Stay calm, do not run or scream, arms out to the side, use a human voice, back away slowly, seek shelter. Most bears on the Coast are not that big – usually weighing only about 150 pounds – and it is extremely rare for black bears to attack. It’s all about the personality of the bear; just because it’s large doesn’t mean it’s aggressive.”
Drescher recommends learning bear behaviour and sharing the information with children.
Teach kids about bears, learn behaviour/biology and what they should do if they encounter a bear. WildSafeBC gives free presentations to community groups, schools/camps, and has a wealth of information on its website at www.wildsafebc.com.
Heather Jeal, Editor