In the last three weeks, Hope has seen an increase in bear calls to the Conservation Officer Service because of bears going through garbage.
A mother bear with two cubs has been spotted numerous times around Thacker Marsh and the Coquihalla River and a black bear and a cinnamon-coloured black bear have been seen many times between Kawkawa Lake and 6th Avenue.
At this time of year, bears enter the hyperphagia stage, which means they have to eat 20,000 calories a day in order to fatten up to survive hibernation. This equals to about 40 hamburgers a day.
Natural food is still available at this time of year, including some blackberries, Mountain Ash, fish in the Fraser River and some fish in the Coquihalla River. While bears are moving around to find natural food, they will gladly go through garbage cans which have been carelessly put at the curb the night before pick-up or even left out for the whole week.
If a bear has gone into garbage once, they will come back for more. This will very quickly put them at risk of being shot, since they have become a danger to the public at this point. One garbage can put out the night before pick-up can make an otherwise clean neighborhood unsafe for everyone, including the bears. The same can be said about unpicked fruit trees or bird feeders or any other bear attractant.
We can not say this often enough: please lock your garbage securely in a garage or shed until the morning of pick-up. Freeze smelly items and add them to the garbage the morning of pick-up.
Pick all fallen fruit every day and pick ripe fruit as soon as possible. If you need help with picking, please call me at 604-860-4558 and volunteers will come and help with picking the fruit. Part of this fruit will be donated to local charities like the food bank. Take your bird feeders down and don’t start feeding birds until about mid-November.
If you have had problems with bears in your compost, there are very good indoor worm composters available.
The Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee has been working closely together with the Conservation Officer Service of the Chilliwack area to reduce human-bear conflicts.
The Conservation Officer Service is making the public aware that anyone leaving attractants available for dangerous wildlife can be subject to a fine of $230 under the wildlife Act. If you encounter a threatening bear or a bear that is going through garbage, call the RAPP line immediately at 1-877-952-7277. For more information about bears and bear attractants, check out our website at www.hopemountain.org or like us on our Facebook page to get updates and educational information.
Chair, Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee