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Reminder to be Bear Smart This Fall

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Extreme weather conditions are resulting in an increase of bear sightings and conflicts in Kamloops, and the City is reminding residents to do their part to be Bear Smart. 

Black bears are highly dependent on berries from late summer to fall in order to prepare for winter denning. With the high temperatures this summer, many of these berries ripened early and some have already shriveled up on their stems. In parts of the province where bears are used to feeding on salmon returning to spawn, many will encounter few fish in the rivers. Bears that have spent the season dodging forest fires and smoke are now being drawn into our communities by the smell of fruit that has been artificially irrigated along with other sources of food.

It is natural to feel concern for bears and want to leave water for them and not pick our fruit off trees. Unfortunately, we are doing a disservice to these bears when we allow them to find shelter and food near people. Eventually, a bear that avoided human activity will now become accustomed to it, and then linger in neighbourhoods to feed on human sources of food. When fruit wanes, bears may then move to other easy food sources such as unsecured garbage, birdseed, backyard composters and greasy BBQs. This results in a dangerous situation for people and bears. These bears often have to be destroyed by the Conservation Officer Service when their behaviour is deemed a risk to the public. 

The best way to keep people and bears out of conflict is to remove all sources of food and continue reporting your sightings or conflicts to the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277. 

Other Bear Smart tips include:

  • Garbage containers should not be set curbside until 4:00 am on collection day.
  • Store garbage, organics and recycling carts securely on your property either in a garage or some other bear-resistant fashion.
  • Keep pet food containers indoors.
  • Manage back yard composters properly, and avoid composting meats, greases, etc.
  • Keep barbecues clean.
  • Remove bird feeders from May until November.
  • Pick ripe fruit quickly and remove unwanted fruit trees.
  • If you have chickens, beehives or other livestock, protect them using an electric fence.

To help educate residents on the City's Bear Bylaw (Solid Waste and Recyclables Bylaw No. 40-67, 2011), Community Services Officers will be conducting nightly patrols between 12 am - 8 am to monitor people placing their carts out prior to 4 am. The Bear Bylaw remains in effect until November 30.