Bears are back: Central Okanagan residents urged to safely manage trash

‘If they find your waste, they can make a real mess, but also become food-conditioned’

The Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) is reminding residents to do their part in keeping neighbourhoods safe by managing wildlife attractants around their homes, including household garbage.

Conservation Officers confirm bears have already been spotted in several neighbourhoods from Peachland to West Kelowna.

“This is the time of year bears come out of hibernation, hungry, and looking for food,” said RDCO waste reduction facilitator Rae Stewart. “The best advice if you live in an area susceptible to wildlife is to reduce your risk of conflict and take responsibility for your trash.”

The district is working with its contractor to continue a pilot project for bear-resistant garbage carts in select neighbourhoods.

“There have been some design issues with these new model carts, so testing on the upgraded versions will continue this spring,” said Stewart. “Dependent on the results of the pilot and how those carts stand up to bear activity, there may be new bear-resistant cart options for residents later this year. Something to keep in mind though, the manufacturer stresses these automated bear carts are still only bear-resistant, not 100 per cent bear-proof, so managing your attractants carefully is still critical.”

READ MORE: Illegal dumping on the rise in Kelowna amid pandemic: forest clean-up group

READ MORE: Big White prepares for big summer, still set to open amid pandemic

Wildsafe BC offers the following tips to keep wildlife wild and help prevent conflict:

  • Only put garbage out for collection on the morning of pickup, not the night before
  • Encourage neighbours to do the same, offer to help if they are not able to put garbage out at appropriate times
  • Secure your garbage on non- collection days- store it securely in your home or in a garage or shed
  • Consider freezing your kitchen scraps until the morning of collection day
  • Keep your barbeque clean and covered
  • Pick ripe or fallen fruit immediately; if composting, or putting in yard waste cart, ensure they are secured from wildlife access
  • Use birdbaths to attract birds, rather than bird feeders

Report human-bear conflicts to the BC Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
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@michaelrdrguez
michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com

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