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Bears waking up from hibernation can bring trouble when garbage is involved, B.C. group says

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The city is cracking down on residents who leave their garbage unsecured ahead of bear season. Carla Parr-Pearson, with Tri-Cities Bear Aware, discusses the impact it might have on the local bear population – Feb 12, 2022

WildSafeBC is reminding British Columbians to lock up garbage bins now that bear season is upon us.

Reports of bear sightings in communities across B.C. have already been coming in, with staff at the BC Conservation Foundation program, which aims to reduce human-wildlife conflict, saying in a Facebook post on Monday that garbage is the most reported attractant involved in human-bear conflicts.

Read more: Devastating images of B.C. wildfire animal survivors living among scorched earth

Upon waking up from hibernation, bears should be feeding on vegetation such as young grasses and sedges, a grass-like plant. But bears have incredible memories and will return to areas where they found food before, such as left-out garbage bins and bird feeders, according to WildSafeBC.

“Store garbage indoors whenever possible. If you have no option but to store your garbage outdoors, consider investing in bear-resistant containers,” the group said in another Facebook post.

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“Ensure they are secured to a solid object with either chain or cable and freeze smelly items until the day of collection or transport.”

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WildSafeBC developed an interactive map that lists animal sightings in the province. In Metro Vancouver, Coquitlam and its surrounding cities have reported a higher concentration of black bears getting into the trash so far this season.

Read more: 12 bears killed on Vancouver Island’s Pacific coast this year amid surge in conflicts

The program also recently reported that a Squamish woman found a bear outside her kitchen window where it was eating from her bird feeder.

It also recommends replacing bird feeders with bird baths and investing in bear spray when planning to trek into bear country.

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