Bear sightings and conflicts are on the rise in Chilliwack and across the region.
City of Chilliwack is urging folks to familiarize themselves with how to avoid human-bear conflicts, especially those living near the forested or hillside areas.
Rule one is clamping down on all attractants.
The hillside communities are prime habitat for bears, but also cougars, coyotes, deer and other wildlife. Bear sightings have also been reported near the Hope Slough on the north side of Chilliwack.
“You can help keep wildlife wild and our community safe by responsibly managing your curbside waste,” city officials posted. “Learn more about how to reduce human-bear conflicts at http://chilliwack.com/BearAware
Since bears’ sense of smell is so strong, outdoor attractants like compost, food, waste, or bird feeders have to be removed with wildlife in mind.
A young bear in the Eastern Hillsides near Unity Christian School has been reportedly entering people’s homes this spring, even cornering them in garages. This led to complaints to the BC Conservation Officer Service (COS).
As a result, a conservation officer has set a trap for the yearling given that it’s had some conflicts with humans and will have to be euthanized. If any other bears other than the yearling are caught in the trap, they will be relocated.
The expression ‘a fed bear is a dead bear’ describes the terrible consequences for bears that conservation officers have to undertake when the animal gets used to human food sources or waste that hasn’t been properly secured.
Most people know not to leave compost or garbage out, but also bird feed, unpicked fruit trees, pet food and dirty barbecues can all have the effect of attracting bears. The attractants should be put away in a shed or garage.
The conservation officers will relocate non-human habituated bears, but not those who’ve become accustomed to returning to an area to access these types of attractants.
City officials are asking residents to help “minimize any interaction with wildlife” by changing their curbside collection schedules for residents in high-risk areas for conflicts, asking them to keep their garbage and compost secured until the morning of their collection day.
It’s about minimizing the amount of time waste materials are at the curb to reduce the chance of wildlife getting into it.
Anyone who sees wildlife digging through curbside materials or acting aggressively toward humans or pets is asked to call the BC Conservation Officer Service’s RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.
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