Bears very busy accessing unprotected garbage across the Interior

Uptick in bear conflicts

Madison Erhardt

It's that time of year again. Bears are constantly searching for food ahead of hibernation season.

Conservation officer Ken Owens says unfortunately bears are currently very active in urban areas of West Kelowna, Kelowna and Lake Country because they are able to access people's unprotected garbage, bird seed and compost.

"The majority of black bear conflicts in British Columbia involve bears that on initial contact with communities have altered natural foraging behaviour in favour of man-made food sources," Owens said.

Owens adds that if attractants, bears, people and sites are not successfully managed, the public safety risk will increase and the bears will likely have to be euthanized.

Last week a black bear entered the kitchen of a home on Golf Course Drive to get at the garbage in the house. Owens says the bear had to be euthanized.

Conservation officers are pleading with the public to ensure their garbage is made unavailable to bears.

"It is an offence under the BC Wildlife Act to feed bears, intentionally attract bears or negligently store attractants that may attract bears," Owens said, explaining monetary fines are possible.

Bear conflicts can be reported through the the Conservation Officer Service Report All Poachers Polluters (RAPP) line at 1-877-952-7277.

"Securing attractants is the single best way to keep people safe, prevent property damage, and avoid the unnecessary killing of bears that come into conflict with people," Owens added.

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