Earth Issues

Being bear savvy

 | May 28, 2012

British Columbia is home to more than 25 per cent of all of Canada’s black bears; it’s almost impossible to have not seen one in or around Sun Peaks.

To remain safe in bear habitat, the Ministry of the Environment reminds us to never approach, feed or surprise a bear; the most dangerous bears are females defending cubs, bears defending fresh kill, and bears habituated to human food.

When travelling in bear territory, be alert; make noise by periodically calling out or clapping, and keep children close. The ministry also recommends not hiking with dogs as dogs can antagonize bears and unleashed dogs can lure bears back to you, causing an attack.

And, to keep bears from coming to your territory, keep garbage secured in a bear resistant building or container; a truck canopy does not suffice. Harvest fruit trees and berry bushes promptly, burn off barbecues and always clean the grease tray, and secure animal feed.

Outdoor composting (while discouraged in communities like Sun Peaks with high populations of bears) is an important way to recycle, and can cut down household garbage by about one-third. However as there aren’t presently any bear-resistant composting containers available, the British Columbia Conservation Foundation urges composters to layer greens (kitchen scraps) with no more than 10 centimetres of browns (dried leaves, shredded newspaper or cardboard), never add any meat, dairy, cooked foods, cereals or grains into the compost, and add oxygen to the matrix by turning regularly.

Get more Bear Aware tips at