By Kathy Murray
Wildsafe BC Community Coordinator
Garbage accessible to wildlife continues to result in human/wildlife conflict in Fernie.
A brown coloured black bear had to be trapped and destroyed in Ridgemont last week. The bear was initially just passing through back yards. This escalated into conflict once the bear had easy access to food (garbage) left in backyards, on porches and under carports. He was eventually led to front porches and pushing through open windows attempting to get into homes. Not a safe situation for people or bears. The removal of this bear doesn’t solve the problem, it simply opens up a niche for another one to move in as long as the garbage is around.
Here are the current options for the storage of garbage in Fernie.
– Keep garbage in a garage, shed or indoors between collection days.
– Smelly waste can be taken to the transfer station between collection days or put items in a large freezer bag and freeze the smelly stuff (fish, chicken) and then dispose of it on garbage day
– We have a manual garbage collection system in Fernie, therefore the large bear resistant cans with the latches are oversized and overweight for the garbage collector to lift and dump as per WCB. Unfortunately, regulations also prevent the garbage collector from opening the oversized can and pulling out the garbage bags inside.
– The Tydee bin is a good option for outdoor storage of garbage in Fernie, go to http://www.bearaware.bc.ca/?q=conflict-prevention/bear-resistant-bins for details.
– I will be receiving an electrified residential size bear resistant container next week for testing – stay tuned for details.
– If you see a bear on your property let him know he is not welcome. Make noise, bang pots and pans together, use an air horn or other noise maker to scare him off if you feel it is safe to do so. Once the bear leaves, double check to make sure there is nothing left out (food, garbage, birdfeeder, dirty barbeque, pet food) to attract him.
– Talk to your neighbours, new residents, family and friends and let’s all work together to keep our neighborhoods safe for wildlife and people and prevent the needless destruction of wildlife.
– Surrounded by mountains, forests and waterways, Fernie is situated in a spectacular location appealing to both people and wildlife. Be prepared and expect to encounter wildlife anytime and remember that food provided by humans can entice animals and their predators into the community, compromising safety for wildlife and people
A mountain biker reported having a very close call with a bear as he was riding down Swine Flu on the weekend. He almost ran into the bear that was on one of the berms. Moose and their calves have been seen on Uprooted Trail and in the marshy area between the new dike and the river in West Fernie.
Bears reported on decks on Aspen Crescent and sightings of a large black bear in Ridgemont
Mountain bikers: remember that your speed and quietness put you at greater risk for sudden encounters with bears. Make noise to warn bears of your presence and slow down when approaching blind corners or where the line of sight is poor.
Carry bear spray in an accessible location and know how to use it. Canisters and holsters can be modified to fit onto bike frames or attached to the outside of camelbacks.
For more information on preventing wildlife/human conflict go to www.wildsafebc.com.