B.C.’s Conservation Officer Service is warning that there are three black bears in Nanaimo that are becoming habituated to food due to unsecured garbage and compost.
Around Bruce and Tenth streets, there is a single bear, and a family of two bears that are getting into unsecured garbage and compost bins.
“The COS has been receiving multiple calls related to bears accessing unsecured garbage and compost in this area leading to the bears becoming food conditioned and habituated to humans,” Caitlin Bickford, conservation officer in the Central Island Zone said in an email release.
“In the case of the family unit, the sow is teaching her cub how to access a non-natural food source in an urban area. The community needs to take action.”
Bickford says the conservation officers have received a number of calls about these bears and are monitoring the bear’s behaviour.
“At this time the COS is receiving calls about the bears becoming unafraid of people, but there has been no reports of aggressive behavior towards humans,” Bickford said.
To secure garbage, COS is asking people to take one of all of the following methods:
- Store garbage in a locked shed or garage.
- Leave the waste bins empty and clean until pick-up day.
- Freeze garbage and place it into waste bins on the day of pick up.
WildSafe BC has additional tips on how to have a “WildSafe Yard” that can be found on its website.
“Unless the community secures attractants, the bears will continue to come back and the COS traps will not be effective as there are more convenient food sources for the bears (ie garbage and compost bins that are unsecured), rendering our traps ineffective,” Bickford said.
“This is a reminder to residents of Nanaimo that you live in bear country. It is your responsibility to take all reasonable measures to ensure bears do not access attractants on your property.”
Failure to properly secure waste bins faces a fine of $230 under the B.C. Wildlife Act.
Additionally, Nanaimo has secured funding for a WildSafe co-ordinator to educate residents on wildlife encounters and conflicts, though the position is currently open for hiring.
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