Bears will get hungry, and one of the ways to reduce the risk of an interaction is to remove any potential food sources.
In Cumberland, the Village recently asked residents to keep up efforts to manage any wildlife attractants they might have in the vicinity of their homes.
“Residents have done an excellent job securing their solid waste and picking their fruit in the past few years, and it’s really important that we keep this up,” Mayor Leslie Baird said in a news release on Sept. 18. “Cumberland has a history of bears getting into garbage and being destroyed. We must keep bears out of the Village to keep them safe.”
Bears that become food-habituated can become dangerous and are a greater risk of coming into conflict with people and pets. There are other common attractants such as birdseed, uncleaned barbecues, pet food and outdoor freezers that can entice an unwanted guest.
“Once a bear finds a food source, it will be back. It’s important not to wait for a bear to find it – store it away securely before it gets to that point,” Cumberland’s WildSafeBC community coordinator says Ashley Marks said.
Since 2016, the Village and WildSafeBC have worked to improve community awareness through education and garbage tagging programs. People who do not comply can face a penalty. This fall, residents neglecting to store solid waste securely or put it out to the curb before collection day can expect a fine of $50 to $500.
For people with a disability or limited mobility who need assistance with their solid waste, there is information on the Village website cumberland.ca. Search “solid waste services” on the site.
As well, Cumberland residents will be getting a Wildlife Attractants Checklist mailed to them soon. To speak with the local coordinator about managing attractants, call Marks 250-897-8239 or email firstname.lastname@example.org until the end of November. There is also information at the WildSafeBC website at WildSafeBC.com.