The 2011 bear season has begun! In the Thompson Nicola Regional District, we are finally getting a taste of spring and so are the bears. Spring arrived late this year resulting in a low amount of natural vegetation for the bears to eat. This causes the bears to come into town and search for food. A bear’s diet consists of 80 per cent vegetation so spring is a valuable time to have access to this forage. Bears prefer this new vegetation as the plants are low in cellulose making them easily digestible. Bears will also feed on carrion, insects and small mammals.
Even though bears usually have easy access to natural food sources in the spring, we still need to make sure that we are Bear Aware. We need to ensure that bears are not brought into town by improperly managed attractants.
It is up to residents to ensure that communities stay free of bear attractants so the bears can stay alive and we can stay safe.
Follow these key points to be Bear Aware:
• Store garbage, compost and recycling in a bear-proof container until proper disposal.
• Use bird feeders only during winter months.
• Remove fruit and berries from trees and shrubs.
• Feed pets inside and store food indoors.
• Keep barbecues clean and free of leftover food.
Bear Aware also needs help from volunteers. For more information contact Katelyn Leitch, the TNRD Bear Aware Community Coordinator, at 250-828-2551 or by e-mail at [email protected]. Bear sightings, property damage or human safety issues due to bears can be reported to the Conservation Officer Service on the RAPP line: 1-877-952-7277.
BCCF’s Bear Aware program is sponsored by the Ministry of Environment and the TNRD.