Bear Aware: Taking responsibility

Since late August bears have been spotted in and around Invermere and Radium.

Since late August bears have been spotted in and around Invermere and Radium. Sightings in multiple locations could either be the same bear or multiple bears. Here are some of the locations that bears have been sighted at:

Along Highway 93 in Radium, a sow and two cubs and one lone bear have been accessing garbage dumpsters and fruit trees from local businesses.

In residential areas of Jackson Avenue, Revelstoke Avenue, Kirk Street, and Blakley Place in Radium, a lone bear has been sighted different times of the day and night wandering around and foraging on apple trees.

In the residential areas of Invermere, a lone bear has been spotted during the day near the corner of 9th Avenue and 17th Street, the south end of 12th Avenue, many of the side streets along 13th Avenue, and a bear has been sighted eating apples near 10th Avenue and 5th Street.

Please report all bear sightings and/or property damage caused by a bear to the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.

Last week, Bear Aware discovered a bear just off of Highway 93 consuming a plastic bag and also found a bear cub locked in a dumpster. One of the big reasons why we shouldn’t feed bears is because they become increasingly bold when they receive rewards at our homes and businesses. A perfect example is a bear that, just outside of Invermere, entered a house through a slightly open sliding door and made a big mess in the house while consuming various food items found in the kitchen. This bear most likely had already learned that our neighbourhoods are a good place to find food. Once a bear enters a house, it will most likely be destroyed as this one was because they have become a threat to our safety. It is very important to keep garbage in a garage, shed or in your house and keep all windows and doors closed.

During a garbage inspection in Radium, it was extremely disappointing to find that more than half of the businesses have garbage accessible to bears. This is even after Bear Aware went to each bin with a carabiner to secure the lids on each dumpster around the village. Even more concerning is that bears have been accessing garbage from many of these dumpsters and they are still not being locked up. Unfortunately, some business owners don’t understand the risks involved in feeding bears garbage.  Bears that eat garbage may consume plastic that could end up causing internal damages leading to death. Furthermore, bears that become human-food conditioned may not leave town and will end up breaking into a house or business, hurting someone that gets too close, being hit by a car, or destroyed. Over 600 bears are destroyed every year due to human-bear conflicts in British Columbia. We need to start taking responsibility for our garbage and making it publicly unacceptable to feed bear intentionally or unintentionally.

Bear Aware is currently looking for volunteers, please contact Crystal Leonard, Bear Aware community co-ordinator at 250-688-0561, invermere@bearaware.bc.ca or radium@bearaware.bc.ca.For more information, visit  www.bearaware.bc.ca.

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