It appears some B.C. residents are still not getting the message about being bear aware in their neighbourhoods.
This month, garbage pickup is on Wednesday morning in some areas of North Vancouver. According to the District of North Vancouver, it is in contravention of the District’s Solid Waste Removal Bylaw to set out carts before the morning of collection day. Many of them were not locked.
Residents can put out their waste for collection between 5:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. and not before.
However, when Global News sent a camera to parts of the North Shore Tuesday evening, many garbage cans were already placed at the ends of driveways.
The North Shore Black Bear Society says Deep Cove is a hotspot for wildlife activity right now but they’re seeing many residents not complying with the Solid Waste Removal Bylaw and leaving waste out overnight, which increases the chance of bears coming into residential areas.
“When residents leave food sources available to bears overnight it’s very difficult for people to safely move on the bear from the garbage cart,” Luci Cadman with the Black Bear Society told Global News.
“Bears that are reported to be eating garbage, fruit trees, bird seed, food scraps, are labelled as food conditioned. Those bears are almost always killed.”
The issue of leaving garbage out early comes after a well-known black bear was killed by Conservation Officers after it was seen eating from the garbage and organics carts.
The society says this was a death sentence for Huckleberry the bear because some residents admitted they allowed the bear to eat from the garbage so they could take photos and videos.
“On the last day that we saw him, on the 31st of July, a resident had gone on vacation and left their organics cart unlocked and full of food,” Cadman said.
“We only found Huckleberry that day after we saw people running down the street with their cameras to take a photograph. We’d found about 30 residents on that street who had come out to take a photograph of him eating from that garbage cart.”
Later that day, the society says he was tranquilized by conservation officers and taken away to be euthanized.
“There’s lots of people there that have videos of bears eating from garbage cans and bird feeders and that seems to be the priority for most people, to get a video or a photograph,” Cadman added, “rather than helping the bear by moving them on from a safe place.”
The District of North Vancouver says bylaw officers do patrol neighbourhoods to make sure the carts and containers are not set outside early.
“The first (offence) results in a warning letter issued to the homeowner, and any following (offences) result in a $100 ticket,” the district said in a statement.
“Residents need to be aware that when they place carts out the night before collection it’s an open invitation for bears to enter the neighbourhood and search for food, putting them at undue risk.”