More bears are being seen in mid-Island communities, looking for an easy meal.
Their targets can include neighbourhood garbage bins, which is a concern for the Regional District of Nanaimo.
To protect bears and other wildlife, as well as people in the community, the RDN and the Central Island Zone of the BC Conservation Officer Service are urging all residents to stop placing their carts out the night before collection day. Carts should also be properly secured on residential property for all non-collection days.
Bears are attracted to garbage and is the cause of half of the bear-related problems calls made to conservation officers. Other attractants include bird seed, fruit trees, pet food and livestock.
Once a bear becomes food-conditioned to garbage and other attractants, they associate people with food and the lose their fear of humans, leaving to hundreds of bears being destroyeds due to human-wildlife conflicts.
“Protecting the natural environment, including wildlife, is a priority for the Regional District of Nanaimo,” said RDN board chair Tyler Brown. “We encourage residents to adopt these best practices so that together, we can minimize the negative interactions and impact we have on bears and other wildlife in our region.”
Prevention is key to keeping bears and other wildlife safe. Officials offered these guidelines:
Keep carts secured on non-collection days:
• Do not set your carts out the night before your collection day.
• Place your carts out at the curb between 5-8 a.m. on the morning of your scheduled collection day.
• Remove your carts from the curb after they have been collected.
•· Store carts in a secured location such as a garage or shed, especially if you live on the outer city limits, in a rural neighbourhood, near a park or in any location that may be close to a wildlife habitat.
Reduce odours in your carts:
• Wrap smelly food in newspaper and freeze until collection day.
• Use vinegar and/or baking soda to naturally eliminate odours.
• Periodically rinse carts with soapy water.
Placing carts out the night before collection day goes against local waste collection bylaws and provincial regulations. Under the BC Wildlife Act, a person leaving attractants accessible to dangerous wildlife may be subject to a $230 fine(s) issued by the BC Conservation Officer Service.
In areas frequented by bears, setting carts out the night before collection is considered an offence. Conservation officers noted the public is legally responsible to secure their attractants and not place garbage and compost carts out the night before collection.
— NEWS Staff, submitted