Don’t set up a bear buffet

Bear Aware column for the week of July 7.

Some of you may have noticed a bright yellow sticker on your garbage or your neighbour’s garbage bin. This sticker was placed on garbage that was placed on the curbside the night before pick-up. Although convenient for some of you, this is a very dangerous practice.

Bears have a great sense of smell; they smell seven times better than a bloodhound, and if they happen to walk near or through town and smell garbage on the street that garbage becomes an easy food source.

The bear will become accustomed to getting food from our streets at night, and then possibly become bold enough to feed on garbage during the day.

Most people I talked to about this issue were eager to do something about it and I thank you for that.  Some don’t think it’s an issue because you haven’t seen a bear in your neighbourhood, yet. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a possibility of a bear coming in to town and visiting your neighbourhood.

Bears visit Invermere and Radium. Any street may have a bear passing through. If we keep our community free of garbage, however, they may come in, but they won’t stay for long. Bungee cords, or any strap used to secure your lid on won’t stop a bear from getting into your garbage.

Up to 600 bears a year are destroyed in B.C. because they become a safety risk to us or destroy property. It may take only a single meal of garbage, fruit, or bird feed for a bear to become human food-conditioned.

Relocating bears isn’t the best option because most of the time the bear will either come back or start foraging for garbage in another community. A bear that learns to forage for a good meal in a human community, does not readily “unlearn” to hunt for garbage.

I would like to put out a special thank you to the Westridge and Pinetree neighbourhoods for having perfect track records, and to all of you that don’t put your garbage bins out until the day of pick up —  great job!

Here are some tips to follow:

• Keep garbage in your basement, garage, or in a shed at all times until after 8 a.m. day of pick up.

• If you have really smelly waste such as fish, freeze it until the day of pick up.

• If you’re not able to put it out that morning, ask one of your neighbours for assistance.

• Take it to the Windermere dumpsite any day of the week: it’s free.

Are you tired of seeing bears destroyed due to our garbage? Volunteers are needed for an evening of garbage tagging.


BCCF’s Bear Aware gratefully acknowledges funding by the Columbia Basin Trust, the MOE and the communities of Invermere and Radium.

To report a bear sighting or incident call the RAPP line at: 1-877-952-7277.

For more information on Bear Aware contact: Crystal Leonard, Bear Aware Community Co-ordinator at 250-688-1511, or

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