- Category: Going Zero Going Zero
- Published: 13 July 2010 13 July 2010
Our garbage or rather the sloppy ways we handle our waste can lead to conflicts with our neighbours – the wild ones, especially!
Black bears are our wild neighbours. Our garbage jeopardizes the health and well being of this majestic creature. A garbage fed bear can become a dead bear.
Each year in B.C. about 950 black bears are destroyed to protect the public. One million dollars a year is spent dealing with bear/people conflicts in B.C. These conflicts often occur because of garbage.
Bears are non-stop eating machines that become rapidly addicted to the tastes and nasty smells of garbage. They are particularly attracted to the aroma of dirty diapers. Bears have a keen sense of smell, garbage may be easier to find than natural foods such as fish, berries, bugs, vegetation and wild meats. A garbage can is a quick fast food stop for a bear. After one taste of trash from a backyard garbage can, a bear may forever associate residential areas with food. In the autumn, bears feed up to 18 hours per day in preparation for hibernation. They seek out highest calorie food sources. Garbage is high in calories.
Problem bears are relocated but bears will travel hundreds of kilometres to return to known food sources. If relocation does not work or public safety is an issue, the bears are shot. Garbage also kills bears because they ingest chemicals, plastics and shards of metal and glass in garbage. Garbage is not a healthy or natural food source for bears.
We can keep bears wild and free and alive by not creating attractants that create conflicts.
KEEP BEARS AWAY FROM GARBAGE:
Don’t let garbage pile up or develop strong odours. Minimize odours by keeping garbage in tightly closed containers.
Never leave garbage near doors, on decks, or by windows.
Freeze food scraps, especially meat, fish, or fruit by products, in an airtight container until trash collection day.
Keep garbage and recyclables in the house or secure shed until pick-up time. ** PLEASE NOTE PLASTIC AND METAL TRASH CANS WITH FITTED LIDS ARE NOT BEAR PROOF.
Don’t discard cooking grease in yard. Collect it in a container, and keep it inside.
Never allow fruit and vegetables to rot on the ground.
Don’t leave scented products including candles and sunscreen outdoors.
Choose adequate size dumpsters. Don’t let dumpster overflow. Keep lids locked and chained at all times. *** PLEASE NOTE DUMPSTERS ARE NOT BEAR PROOF CONTAINERS.
Stabilize small dumpsters to prevent bears tipping them over.
Rinse out dumpsters and trashcans with a hose and deodorize with ammonia often.
Pick up loose and spilled garbage.
IF A BEAR IS GETTING INTO GARBAGE, WAIT IN A SAFE PLACE (LIKE A HOUSE OR CAR) UNTIL BEAR IS GONE. CLEAN UP WHATEVER ATTRACTED BEAR. WASH SURFACES WITH AMMONIA. SECURE GARBAGE.
For more information about co-existing with bears go to bearsmart.com.