Bears will soon be looking for food

When bears are eating natural food high up in the mountains, people can forget we still live in bear country

Wildlife report in and around our communities:

• Doe around Invermere with a tomato basket wrapped around it.

• A few reports of aggressive does in Invermere protecting their fawns.

• A young grizzly in Fairmont.

 

There haven’t been any bear sightings reported in Invermere since May and very little reported in Radium since July. This does not mean they won’t be roaming the streets soon. I worry that through the summer months, when bears are eating natural food high up in the mountains, people forget we still live in bear country. Just because there isn’t a bear in town today doesn’t mean there won’t be one tomorrow. We need to be proactive and practice safe attractant management before it’s too late. Once the berries have dried up, the bears will be looking for food in town. This is the time we need to be most diligent about keeping garbage stored inside, in a garage or shed and to not leave it out the night before pick up.

Sometimes I feel like a broken record, always repeating the same attractant management advice. But, unfortunately, many of us have not learned how to live amongst bears and other wildlife. By leaving your garbage out, you are putting the whole community at risk. If a bear wanders through town and doesn’t get any food, it’s not going to stay. If, even one time, that bear gets some garbage, bird seed or fruit from a tree, it will most likely come back to get more. Maybe you don’t mind bears or deer in your yard, but what about your neighbour, the schools or playground down the block? I would think most people don’t want their children or pets getting injured. I would also think they would not like to see the bear becoming habituated and/or human food-conditioned and destroyed. Having a human-food conditioned bear wandering the streets day and night is a serious matter — not only for our safety but for the bear’s safety. Previously, over 1,000 bears were destroyed each year in British Columbia. Within the last few years ,it has dropped to around 500. It’s great that awareness has made the number of bears destroyed each year drop in half, but I think we can still do better.

Fun wildlife fact of the week: If there were two bears and two deer born and all litters had equal numbers of males and females that bred at earliest possible maturity, had the largest normal litter each time and there were no deaths, in 10 years the grizzly bear population would grow to eight, whereas the white-tailed deer population would grow to 1,424! This gives you an idea of how slowly bears breed compared to how quickly deer breed.

 

Crystal is the WildSafeBC Community Co-ordinator. Contact her at 250-688-0561 or  invermere@wildsafebc.com.

 

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