Bears love garbage.
The problem is they can be very aggressive and very possessive, especially of their young and of a food source.
With that in mind as the large mammals wake from winter hibernation, authorities have some annual reminders for the public.
“Basically, it’s managing your attractants,” 100 Mile House conservation officer Colin Kravontka says, adding the main attractants are garbage, bird feeders, livestock feed and people leaving pet food outside.
“If possible, put your garbage out [no sooner than] an hour before the dump trucks are coming.”
Noting every year local conservation officers remove several bears from 100 Mile, he says 108 Mile Ranch “was particularly bad” last year.
“What we usually do is trap them or put a leg hold snare out. Or else, depending on the situation, we’ll dispatch them.”
Local residents don’t have to look very far for a sad reminder of how dangerous the large animals can be. A 36-year-old woman, Lorna Weafer, was killed by a bear at a Suncor oil sands site near Fort McMurray on May 7.
The Ministry of Environment’s website includes tips on managing wildlife encounters and Kravontka encourages people to visit the website to learn more.
One heading online reads “a fed bear is a dead bear.”
“Most people are not aware of their role in the destruction of bears. If humans allow bears to access non-natural food sources, such as garbage, they help to create ‘problem’ bears. In most cases, ‘problem’ bears must be destroyed because they damage property and are a potential threat to human safety.”
Kravontka says the public can contact the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) toll free tip-line at 1-877-952-7277 if they have or witness problems with wildlife.