Garbage kept outdoors between collection days continues to attract bears into the Elk Valley and South Country Communities.
There have been reports of bears accessing garbage throughout our communities in the past few weeks. Keeping garbage indoors and inaccessible to bears is the most effective way to keep people safe, prevent property damage and avoid the unnecessary killing of bears that come into conflict with people. Also be reminded that it is an offence under the BC Wildlife Act to attract dangerous animals (bears, wolves, cougars and coyotes) to your property with unsecured attractants (garbage, pet food, bird feeders, fruit trees).
The Wildlife Act states that:
(1) A person must not (a) intentionally feed or attempt to feed dangerous wildlife or, (b) provide, leave or place an attractant in, on or about any land or premises with the intent of attracting dangerous wildlife.
(2) A person must not leave or place an attractant in, on or about any land or premises where there are or where there are likely to be people, in a way the attractant could (a) attract dangerous wildlife to the land or premises and be accessible to dangerous wildlife.
Depending on where you live there are different options for disposing of garbage responsibly. Sparwood has provided residents with certified bear resistant containers. The containers are reinforced with metal and secured with latches. They are not bear proof but do provide an additional barrier to prevent bears breaking into them as long as the latches on the containers are kept locked between collection days. As an additional precaution we recommend that containers be kept indoors between collection days if possible.
Fernie recently upgraded to an automated garbage collection system with residential wildlife resistant roll out carts fitted with a gravity locking system. The carts have kept dogs, crows and small animals out as they will not open when knocked over, but they are not bear resistant. The gravity locking system has reduced the amount of garbage and wind strewn litter accessible to wildlife on garbage day, but they must be kept indoors between collection days. If you miss garbage day or don’t have anywhere secure to store garbage, you have options. Garbage can be taken to the transfer station or to the bear resistant community dumpsters that are available 24/7 free of charge at City Hall, the Aquatic Centre, the Fernie Memorial Arena or the Max Turyk Community Centre.
South Country communities and Fernie Alpine Resort do not have curb side collection and garbage must be taken to the local transfer station or communal dumpsters. Please ensure that these areas are kept clean and odor free. Littering in and around these areas will attract wildlife and cause conflicts with local residents, visitors and their pets.
Please use WildSafeBC’s Top 10 Ways to Help Wildlife in order to keep our communities safe and wildlife wild:
1. Keep your garbage secure, store it indoors, in the garbage, or in a bear-resistant enclosure.
2. Only put your garbage/yard waste/recyclables out on collection day, never the night before.
3. Manage your fruit trees so that fruit is picked as it ripens, and no windfall accumulates.
4. Bring bird feeders in from April through November, and when they are out, ensure that the ground underneath is kept free of seeds.
5. Feed pets indoors.
6. Maintain your compost so that it doesn’t smell. Add fruit slowly. Never add meat or other animal products.
7. Protect fruit trees, beehives and small livestock with a properly installed and maintained electric fence.
8. Respect wild animals by not feeding them. Food conditioned wildlife are more likely to come into conflict.
9. Keep barbecues clean and odour free.
10. Report any wildlife in conflict or bear, cougar or wolf sightings in the community to the Conservation Officer Service 24/7 at 1.877.952.7277. These reports are uploaded daily to the WildSafeBC Wildlife Alert Reporting Program (WARP) that is available free of charge on our website.
Keeping garbage indoors and inaccessible to wildlife between collection days, complying with local bylaws and the BC Wildlife Act, managing fruit trees and bringing in bird feeders during bear season will result in a cleaner and safer community for people and wildlife. Thanks for doing your part and encouraging family, friends and neighbours to do the same.
For more information on preventing human/wildlife conflict visit Wildsafebc.com or follow our Facebook page WildSafeBC Elk Valley.