As bears come out of hibernation, conservation officers in Nanaimo are warning residents about three bears getting into garbage and compost.
According to conservation officer Caitlin Bickford, the bears are in the neighbourhoods around Bruce and Tenth streets, and they have been getting multiple calls about the bears accessing garbage and compost.
A single bear is active near extension road and a family unit of two bears has the sow teaching her cub to access non-natural food sources.
Bickford says there have not been any reports of aggressive behaviour towards humans and are asking you to help prevent bears from accessing garbage via:
- Storing garbage in a locked shed or garage
- Leaving waste bins empty and clean until pickup day
- Freezing garbage and only putting them into bins on pickup day
“Unless the community secures attractants, the bears will continue to come back, and the COS traps will not be effective as there are more convenient food sources for the bears rendering our traps ineffective,” said Bickford.
“This is a reminder to residents of Nanaimo that you live in bear country. It is your responsibility to take all reasonable measures to ensure bears do not access attractants on your property.”
The service is also asking the community to take responsibility for wildlife conservation. The fine for attracting dangerous wildlife to land is $230.
COS says they are working with the city to create a long-term solution to the human-wildlife conflict issues in the area. They say they have been successful in getting funding for a WildSafe co-ordinator to provide educational outreach to the residents of Nanaimo.
However, that position is currently posted for recruitment and a job posting can be found online.
If you need to report incidences of human-wildlife contact, you are asked to call RAPP at 1-877-952-7277. COS adds this helps them monitor animal behaviour as bears begin to search for food after winter.