Bear Aware

The Flatbed Falls Interpretive Centre was a major concern for me as the original garbage containment was not bear proof but yesterday, I found a brand new and spanky bear proof container!!!

Two big claws up for Clark Hazlehurst (Public Works Operations Manager) and his team who did such a great job in setting up the bear proof container at Flatbed. They took a step towards public safety in the area.

A bear could have easily lifted the lid (which doesn?t lock down) and get into human food waste and a food-conditioned bear in the area where people picnic, walk, pass by to see the dinosaur tracks, mushroom pick, etc, is a time bomb waiting to go off. Those of you who read my column all know that this type of situation is exactly what our program is trying to avoid.

Once a bear gets into our food that?s it. We can estimate that it takes between 2 and 10 days to fully food-condition a bear. From that point on, the bear will often ignore it?s natural food source and seek out our garbage. After that, it?s sense of personal space will start to shrink as it becomes human habituated, it may start approaching people, become aggressive and/or dangerous. From there, someone could get hurt or worse. Inevitably, the bear will pay the price and be shot.

A FED BEAR IS A DEAD BEAR.

This issue makes me reflect again on my article of last week: the citizens of Tumbler have to realize that we are responsible for our own safety and to ?bear safe? our community ouselves. The bears aren?t going anywhere and neither are we. Due to cutbacks, the Conservation Officer Service does not have the man power to remove or shoot a bear unless it?s become aggressive or a threat but by then, something tragic may already have happened. It?s up to us not to bait these animals into our community with our domestic attractants.

Believe it or not, I?ve even had two reports of people feeding wildlife on their property here in Tumbler! Aside from running through the berry patches naked, covered in honey with bacon tied around your neck, there is nothing more foolish that you could do. It is a danger to your neighbours, a danger to the community, a danger to yourselves and, especially, a danger to the animals.

If you?re feeding prey, be sure it?s predator is close by! Moreover, feeding wildlife is against the law in BC.

You know who you are; consider this a warning. It?s up to all of us to look after our domestic attractants.It?s up to us to realize where we live. It?s up to us NOT to bait animals into our community.

It?s up to us to be Bear Aware.

?Till next week, bear with me.

NOTE: Aug 31st, TR Library – come and get the bear facts at a free evening about bears and bear issues that concern YOU!