This time of year brings on many changes and they’ve been happening the same way for thousands of years. Leaves change colour and frost hits the ground, squirrels gather nuts and black bears look for food before winter hibernation. So if nature’s clock is so precise with regards to seasons, why is it that humans still haven’t got it?
Each fall for the past nine years I’ve written this same piece, more or less, and sometimes I feel it simply falls on deaf ears, but here I am writing it again!
What I’m referring to are people in Sun Peaks, Kamloops and around the province for that matter, simply becoming truly “Bear Aware” as winter approaches.
There are more than 180,000 black bears in B.C. and each one needs to find up to 20,000 calories per day leading up to hibernation. That means any food source is game for bears, be it fallen fruit, bird seed, or that bag of garbage you forgot in your pickup last night because you forgot what time the dump closed.
As stated by many wildlife officials a fed bear is usually in the long run, a dead bear. Some people actually think it’s the bear’s fault. Bears seem to learn faster than humans in some cases and for one Sun Peaks bruin he or she has got us pegged. This savvy Yogi has figured out that the back of pickup trucks is a great place to find a half eaten Footlong from Subway or that bag of forgotten trash, but remember, it’s the bear’s fault right? I personally witnessed a bear investigate a white trash bag full of clean plastic bottles in the box of a pickup—it looked like a bag of garbage to him.
While many people I know think there are simply too many bears anyway, I for one think they’re one of the most majestic and intelligent beings on the planet and deserve a little respect. Is it really that hard to manage your garbage so your local bear that graces thousands of tourist photographs doesn’t get shot because of your laziness?
What about the poor soul that happens to startle Yogi eating from your garbage can or pickup truck early one morning and gets the wrong end of a bear? Oh I forgot, it’s the bear’s fault again.
How hard is it to securely store your garbage, pick up your fallen fruit and make sure that bears have no food source around your house or in your vehicle?
If you have to ask yourself while lying in bed at night, “Did I leave anything out there that the bears can get?” then usually you’re too late.
All it takes is a little common sense and a little forethought and you can become one of the many that are truly “Bear Aware”.