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When bears are hungry and fattening up for winter hibernation, your garbage may be just the smorgasbord they’re looking for.
“We’re talking about wildlife, bears in particular at this time of year" says Waste Reduction Facilitator Rae Stewart. “Now that fall is almost here, many animals are preparing for their long winter sleep and they’re hungry and on the prowl for food. The best advice if you live in an area susceptible to wildlife visitors is to reduce the risk of conflict by taking responsibility for your trash.”
Stewart reminds residents not to put their garbage, recycling or yard waste carts out for collection until the morning of their actual collection day. “Bears and other animals have a keen sense of smell so the idea is to NOT attract them to your garbage unnecessarily. If they find your waste, not only can they make a real mess but they can pose a risk to you and your family, your pets or to themselves by attracting the totally preventable attention of conservation officers.”
The BC Conservation Foundation WildsafeBC website also suggests keeping your garbage in a secured shed or garage until pickup day and recommends not stockpiling or burying garbage. As well, it reminds that fish and meat remains should not be left outside and suggests freezing or keeping them in a cool place until they can be placed into the garbage on your collection day.
Stewart adds, “Some residents have had success with using bungee straps to secure the lid of their waste carts. Keep in mind though, any security devices you choose to deter wildlife from your trash must be released on the day of your collection so the lid can open freely and the container contents be emptied into the automated truck.”.
You’re also reminded to take care with what you put in your backyard composter. Things like cooking oil, grease and dairy products should never be left outside or put into a compost bin as this can attract wildlife to your backyard unnecessarily as well. As for fallen fruit droppings, that too should be removed from your property and disposed in your yard waste cart.
For more information on deterring bears from your garbage, visit the Wildlife BC website. For additional inquiries call the Regional Waste Reduction Office at 250.469.6250.