Conservation service urges northwest residents to manage bear attractants


As warmer weather approaches bears are likely to visit residential areas for easy high-calorie meals
As the warmer season approaches and bears emerge from hibernation, residents of Northwest B.C. are being urged to take extra precautions to secure their garbage and prevent encounters with wildlife.
Conservation officer Serafino Taraddei emphasizes the critical need for residents to manage attractions effectively, especially as bears become more active.
“It’s that time of the year where bears are starting to wake up and accessing unsecured residential garbage, trying to get high-calorie, low-effort food, which is usually garbage,” he said.
Residents are advised to keep garbage secure and only place it outside on the morning of the collection day. Officer Taraddei highlights the importance of preventing the bears from accessing anything that might entice them with smells, noting that it is unlawful under the Wildlife Act to leave attractants accessible to bears.
Stressing the consequences for those who do not take responsibility for managing attractions, Serafino notes fines of up to $575 will be issued to offenders. Managing attractions includes securing garbage, burning excess waste on barbecues, and promptly harvesting fruit to reduce bear interest in residential areas.
Certain areas near Terrace such as Thornhill and Lakelse Lake historically experience higher bear activity due to accessible green spaces. Officer Taraddei explains that as bears become food-conditioned, their behaviour becomes unpredictable, increasing the risk of dangerous encounters.
He further advises residents maintain a safe distance upon encounter and report bear sightings to the Conservation Officer Service for appropriate action.
Over the past few years, Terrace has witnessed more sightings of black bears as opposed to grizzly bears.
“The grizzly bears are very large and territorial. They’re pushing the black bears into town because, for the natural food resources, they [girzzly bears] are occupying spaces. The black bears are very food-motivated and end up coming to town.” Taraddei said.
“In Kitimat, there’s a larger population of grizzly bears, but there is also a fair amount of black bears, as well,” Serafino noted.
Where Smithers had a bad year with the black bears last year, Prince Rupert saw fewer incidents.
“It’s fewer in Prince Rupert than in Smithers, but they’re definitely there,” Taraddei said.
Noting concerns around lack of space and access to a garbage, Taraddei advises putting the dinner food waste in a plastic bag and storing it in the freezer.
“When it’s frozen, it won’t smell inside the house and then in the morning of the garbage day, just put it in the garbage,” he said.
“If you’re seeing that your neighbor is not managing attractions, have a call, have a chat with them and if they’re reluctant to do so, let us know.”
The Conservation Officer Service can be reached at 1-877-952-7277.
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