The Elk Valley is home to an abundance of bears. With the choice to live or visit here, comes a responsibility to ensure peaceful coexistence between ourselves and the surrounding wildlife. With recent tragedies in Canmore and Northern B.C., it’s easy to see this is not always a harmonious relationship. Here are some facts:
• Bears can smell a food source from up to 1.5 km away.
• In 2004, Conservation Officers in the Elk Valley received more than 550 complaints, resulting in the deaths of both Grizzly and Black Bears.
• Black Bears are not relocated, but destroyed.
• 90% of “Problem” Bears were destroyed due to our failure as a community to manage our garbage responsibly.
• It is illegal to feed or provide a food source to wildlife.
Bear season is here, with 2 complaints last week about bears in the Tie Lake area. So we must ask this question: what precautions are you taking to ensure that you are not attracting bears to your property and jeopardizing the safety of your community?
If there is no curb side pick up in your area, ensure you take your garbage to the nearest disposal site as soon as possible. Otherwise, keep your garbage stored indoors until the day of pick-up! If you are planning on going on vacation or away for work, please make arrangements to have someone take care of your refuse. Smelly garbage is like offering a buffet to a bear, and no, Rubbermaid containers will not hide the odor.
Mismanaged garbage is a major cause of bear-human conflict. Bears learn quickly to associate people with food, as our smell remains on garbage. Once a bear learns that people=food they will always associate the two.
Did we mention that a fed bear is a dead Bear?
Last week, more that 100 households throughout the Elk Valley had their garbage out the night before collection. If you found a sticker on your Garbage container, the message trying to be sent is, “Garbage Kills Bears”. Your carelessness or ignorance is inviting bears into your neighbourhood.
Some communities such as Whistler, Kamloops and Revelstoke have implemented By-Laws against leaving refuse out the night before pick-up. In Canmore, they have eliminated curb side garbage pick up entirely. Our communities have the opportunity to be proactive in preventing Bear-Human Conflict. It is our choice… We can prevent conflict by making a few simple changes in our daily routines. It’s our responsibility to make our communities safe; to protect our children and the bears.