Spring cleaning can save lives of wildlife

Photo of a black bear
A young American black bear (Ursus americanus) stands at the edge of a field.
Photo by Jillian Cooper / Getty Images

The following was issued as a press release in British Columbia on March 25, 2024.


Spring cleaning can help protect local wildlife and biodiversity by removing attractants that draw animals like bears and coyotes closer to homes, reminds a BC-based wildlife group.

The Fur-Bearers, a non-partisan charity founded in 1953 to protect fur-bearing animals, is asking residents and business owners to check for common attractants and help prevent unnecessary risks and suffering to native species.

“We all love seeing wildlife visit our yards, but when they’re drawn in by food sources, it can lead to behavioural changes that have significant consequences,” says Lesley Fox, Executive Director of The Fur-Bearers. “Whether its bird seed attracting bears and rodents or outdoor pet food drawing in raccoons, the animals are the ones who end up paying the price.”

An average of 500 black bears are killed by the BC Conservation Officer Service annually, often due to attractant issues; animals are also more likely to take risks like crossing busy streets and getting closer to people or pets when attractants are available.

a black bear eating an apple
A black bear (Ursus americanus) enjoys an apple in a tree.
Photo by Sward85 / Getty Images

The Fur-Bearers is reminding residents and business owners to check for and remove attractants before issues begin. Common attractant issues include:

  • Unsecured garbage. Keep all garbage secure until pickup and follow local regulations on when and how to place garbage curbside.
  • Bird feeders. These are high calorie, high fat snacks for all wildlife from rodents to black bears. As plentiful resources exist during spring, summer, and fall, bird feeders can be put away when most wildlife are active.
  • Outdoor cooking and eating areas. Clean barbecue grills and grease trays after every use and ensure all food waste is cleaned from the site.
  • Pet food and treats. Keep pet food indoors or clean up immediately after it is eaten.

Additionally, The Fur-Bearers reminds residents that feeding wildlife like black bears and coyotes (directly or indirectly by leaving food out that they access) is illegal in British Columbia and can result in a significant fine. Anyone witnessing wildlife feeding or dangerous behaviour around wildlife is asked to contact the BC Conservation Officer Service.

Help Make A Difference

Join The Fur-Bearers today and help us protect fur-bearing animals in the wild and confinement. To become a monthly donor (for as little as $10/month – the cost of two lattes) please click here and help us save lives today. Your donation is tax-deductible.

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Established in 1953, The Fur-Bearers is a charitable, non-partisan organization whose goals are to end the commercial fur trade and promote solutions for wildlife coexistence in communities. Your donation is tax-deductible. Charitable registration number: 130006125RR0002

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