‘Never seen so much garbage left out’ says WildSafeBC coordinator

Animal lovers are all aware that bears are out and about, looking to fatten up for the coming winter months. But in Castlegar, a community west of Nelson, BC, the lessons of being bear wise seem to have fallen off the radar of residents.

As reported in the Castlegar News, WildSafeBC Coordinator Jenny Wallace is sounding the alarm at a lackluster performance on garbage disposal – a sure fire way to attract bears and create the potential for conflict.

“I’ve been a bit shocked this season, to be honest,” Wallace told the Castlegar News. “In my time as the coordinator in Castlegar, I have never seen so much garbage left out totally accessible to wildlife. This past week, I had a call about garbage being dumped beside a community mailbox and I also found garbage bins that had been put on the curb for collection five days early.”

Castelgar has thus far been lucky – the number of nuisance calls in the community have remained low. But if behaviour isn’t brought back to the required standard, that could all change.

Unsecured waste is a beacon not just for bears, but many critters, including coyotes, raccoons, various birds and others. Being a responsible homeowner means taking appropriate care of attractants such as garbage, and preventing a conflict that could lead to lethal action against animals. This also underscores the need for true legislation that allows for education and enforcement of such measures.

It only takes a few minutes to do a check of your yard and make sure attractants aren’t available, and numerous resources are online to help in learning to be a co-existence champion, including APFA’s own Living With Wildlife campaign.

Being bear wise isn’t just good for you, it’s good for the bears, too.

Photo by Tracy Riddell

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The Fur-Bearers is a national non-profit based in Vancouver. It was formed in 1953 and advocates on behalf of fur-bearing animals in the wild and in confinement, and promotes co-existence with wildlife. More about our history and campaigns can be found at thefurbearers.com.

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