Don’t feed the bears – hide your trash

Where there's a will, there's a way. If you really want to stop attracting bears with a free garbage lunch, there are many ways to do it.

We all like bears. Cute and cuddly, who didn’t have a favourite teddy bear as a child? Winnie the Pooh, Smokey the Bear, Yogi Bear and Boo Boo… And those pictures of polar bear cubs at zoos around the world that plaster news websites and Facebook pages?

And the thrill of seeing a live bear in the distance as you’re driving along a rural highway is enough to wish you had a car cam mounted on the dashboard!

An even bigger thrill is coming face to face with the real thing going through your garbage early in the morning. They aren’t so cute then, but who among us looks our best right before breakfast?

Seriously. We don’t like seeing bears killed because of our negligence. And allowing them continued access to our garbage is negligent.

You may think it’s thrilling and cute the first time she visits, and even the second. After that it becomes a nuisance for you and a death sentence for the bear.

Make no mistake. These bears are not re-located. If caught, they will be shot and killed. And the saddest part is that it could have been prevented.

The biggest motivator in life is hunger. As humans, we have a system that most of us adhere to in obtaining food, generally involving payment in exchange for food. Bears and other animals have no such rules. They see food, they take food, they remember where that food came from. And they’ll fight for it if they have to, because starvation is not an option.

This week Ashcroft noticed that the bears have awoken, and it’s breakfast time. Scattered garbage pails have been reported all over town, and now the Conservation Officers have put their bear trap in place.

Prevent bear confrontations with these tips from http://www.bearaware.bc.ca/

Store garbage in a secure building until collection day. Ensure bins are tightly closed. Regularly clean the bins that contain garbage. Do not leave garbage in the back of a truck, even if it has a canopy. If you cannot store garbage securely, freeze smelly items and add to the bin only on the morning of collection. Install motion-sensor lighting by your garbage to frighten bears away.

Wendy Coomber is editor of the Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal

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