September 01, 2016 - 8:00 PM
KAMLOOPS - A pilot project in Kamloops aims to find out if there’s a way to keep bears out of human garbage.
WildSafe B.C. Kamloops coordinator Dana Eye says specially made locks are being added to garbage bin lids in a section of Juniper Ridge. The locks are specially made devices from Port Coquitlam to keep bears out of that city's garbage.
“They’ll work a little hard to get in,” she says. “But if it’s to difficult they’ll move on. When you don’t have the lock they get an instant reward.”
That instant reward conditions bears to look for more opportunities to eat garbage, which increases conflict with people. Because human food has a high amount of calories compared to a bear's typical diet, they’ll seek it out once they learn where to find it.
In Port Coquitlam the locks have been distributed to over 7,000 locations. In Kamloops there are 39, limited to an area known to have conflicts with bears in Juniper Ridge.
“If we put them everywhere across Juniper it's hard to tell if they’re working,” she says. “We’re hoping to check with residents in late October and early November.”
If the bin locks prove to be effective, they could be considered for more places around the city.
The locks are a device added to the top of 240 litre garbage bins to make it difficult for bears to get in. They’ve been tested at the Kamloops Wildlife Park and are certified bear resistant. Eye says nothing is bear proof, as bruins can typically use brute strength to open up bins, but the locks aim to make the garbage bins too frustrating so bears move on.
While garbage is the top attractant for bears in Kamloops, fruit trees can also draw bears in. Eye says the locks are part of the answer to part of the problem, but not a full solution.
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