July 10, 2013 - 3:42 PM
OVER 100 BEAR ENCOUNTERS RELATED TO GARBAGE THIS YEAR, AND THE NUMBER KEEPS CLIMBING
VERNON - Conservation officers have destroyed eight nuisance bears this year, but complaints about the animals haven't gone down.
Sgt. Josh Lockwood says the wet weather we've been having has kept vegetation in the valley lush and appetizing for bears, where it is normally dried up by now.
"We're still seeing a steady flow of bear complaints," Lockwood says.
In early June, the conservation service reported there had been 199 bear complaints in the North Okanagan, 119 of which were related to garbage. The numbers, and the reasons, haven't change much.
“We’re still having difficulty with garbage,” Lockwood says. “Communities need to take responsibility for their garbage or they will have bears coming in. The public is expecting us to come in and destroy all of these bears—that’s not going to happen.”
In some cases, there isn't much choice. Last month, a mother and cub found on the grounds of an Armstrong elementary school were killed by conservation officers. Over the weekend, another bear was destroyed, this time at a trailer park, while feasting on a cherry tree.
Lockwood says Vernon's new WildSafe B.C. coordinator Marnie Cuthill has been improving the public's knowledge of how to prevent bear encounters in the first place. Cuthill goes door to door, explaining that garbage left out for prolonged periods of time is a big bear attractant. By keeping garbage bins in the garage until absolutely necessary, or purchasing bear proof bins, the public can greatly minimize the chance of finding a bear in their yard, Cuthill said.
To report problem wildlife, including cougars, deer and other animals, call 1-877-952-7277 or *7277 on your cell phone.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at firstname.lastname@example.org, call (250)309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013