Fernie is Wildlife Country. As residents in wildlife country it is our responsibility to ensure that there are no unnatural food sources available to attract bears and other wildlife to residential areas. Garbage cans left in carports and backyards between collection days, fruit trees with unpicked produce and windfall fruit on the ground, dirty BBQ’s and bird-feeders will attract bears and entice them to linger in our neighborhoods..
Step 1 Bear Proof your home and surrounding area
Garbage must be stored in a secure shed or inside your house until the morning of collection or taken to the transfer station or communal bear resistant dumpsters at the aquatic centre, Max Turyk, the arena or city hall. The City of Fernie’s Consolidated Waste Regulation Bylaw No. 1845 states that “No person or persons may accumulate, place, store or collect any wildlife attractants as defined in this bylaw in such a manner as to attract wildlife, thereby creating a risk to the safety of any person in the neighborhood or vicinity or to the safety of any wildlife”.
Barbecues & Outdoor cooking draw bears. Never leave any food unattended outdoors. Burn off your grill after each use. Cover the barbecue with a tarp.
Compost does not usually attract bears if it is well managed. However, if it smells, it can become a problem. Turn your compost regularly; cover it with leaves, lime and soil to reduce odors. Do not put fish, meat, fat, oils, unrinsed egg shells or any cooked foods into your compost. Worm composting is virtually odorless and a good alternative in bear season.
Bird feeders attract bears especially when loaded with rich sunflower seeds and suet. Bring bird feeders in between April and December.
Pet Food left outside will attract bears. Pets should be fed indoors.
Fruit Trees often go un-harvested and attract bears. Some people feel that letting bears have unwanted fruit is acceptable, but encouraging bears to enter into residential areas is always a risk. The solution is to harvest your fruit early and or fence your orchards. Unwanted fruit trees should be removed and replaced with non-fruit bearing trees.
Dogs rarely deter bears, especially if they are kept indoors at night. Do not depend on the family dog as a defense against bears. Small and older dogs are at risk of injury or death from an encounter with a bear. Always keep your dog on a leash when walking it. Dogs that chase bears can run back to their owners, often bringing the agitated bear back with them.
Hiking and Biking Make noise to warn bears of your presence, watch for fresh bear signs, carry bear spray, have it accessible and know how to use it and travel in groups in daylight. If you meet a bear, back away slowly and leave. Do not run. Always leave the bear an escape route.
Step 2 If you see a bear go indoors– DO NOT RUN from the bear or taunt it. Alert your neighbours.
Step 3 Call the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277 to report human-wildlife conflict.
By complying with bylaws and keeping your property free of attractants, bears will move on resulting in a cleaner and safer community for people and wildlife and avoid the unnecessary destruction of bears. For more information on preventing human/wildlife conflict visit https://wildsafebc.com/
Reporting Wildlife Sightings
We live in wildlife habitat. Be aware of your surroundings and respectful of the environment. If you observed dangerous wildlife:
– accessing garbage or other human supplied food sources
– that cannot be scared off
– a bear, cougar or wolf seen in an urban area
Call the Conservation Officer Service Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) 24 hr hotline 1-877-952-7277. This allows officers to identify current hot spot locations and work with both residents and wildlife to encourage use of natural habitats and food sources before wildlife becomes habituated and/or a safety concern.