Now that bears are waking up; be bear aware

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Conservation service urges residents to manage bear attractants
As the warmer season approaches and bears are emerging from hibernation, residents of Northwest B.C. are being urged to take extra precautions to secure their garbage and prevent encounters with wildlife.
A local resident reported that driving from Prince Goerge to Burns Lake last week four bears were spotted in that distance.
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.
He further advises residents maintain a safe distance upon encounter and report bear sightings to the Conservation Officer Service for appropriate action.
Where Burns Lake, Houston and Smithers had a bad year with the black bears last year, Prince Rupert saw fewer incidents.
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 until garbage collection day.
“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.
The Conservation Officer Service can be reached at 1-877-952-7277.

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