City of Kamloops reminds residents to secure garbage, ripe fruit as bear sightings increase

Be bear smart, city says

With the number of bear sightings increasing this fall in the Tournament Capital, the City of Kamloops is reminding residents to keep all possible sources of food secured and away from wild animals.

In a statement, the city said Community Service Officers will be educating residents on the city’s bear bylaw and conducting nightly patrols to make sure people are waiting until 4 a.m. on collection day to put out garbage containers.

The city said residents should make sure they are storing garbage, recycling and organics bins securely, keeping pet food containers indoors, and managing backyard composts properly.

Barbecues should be kept clean, and ripe fruit should be quickly picked.

“When fruit wanes, bears may then move to the ready food sources such as unsecured garbage, birdseed, backyard composers and greasy barbecues,” the city said.

“This results in a dangerous situation for people and bears. These bears often have to be destroyed by the Conservation Officer Service when their behaviour is deemed a risk to the public.”

The city also suggested protecting chickens, beehives and other livestock with electric fencing, and removing bird feeders from May until November.

According to the city, this year, extreme weather conditions have resulted in a higher number of bear sightings and conflicts in Kamloops.

On Wednesday, Rivers Trail between Pioneer Park and Riverside Park was closed after a bear showed aggressive and unusual behaviour, approaching a pedestrian in the area.

The city said bears are highly dependent on berries and salmon, but these natural food sources have been impacted by high temperatures this summer — berries that ripened early have now shrivelled, and fewer salmon are returning to spawn.

“Bears that have spent the season dodging forest fires and smoke are now being drawn into our communities by the smell of fruit that has been artificially irrigated along with other sources of food,” the city said.

“It is natural to feel concern for bears and want to leave water for them and not pick our fruit off trees. Unfortunately, we are doing a disservice to these bears when we allow them to find shelter and food near people.”

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