West Shore RCMP says secure garbage after 4 calls for bears rummaging through bins

West Shore RCMP says secure garbage after 4 calls for bears rummaging through bins
Photo: Aaron Brewer/Pexels
Black bear file photo.

Mounties on the West Shore are reminding residents to secure their trash following multiple calls about black bears rummaging through garbage bins over the weekend.

In a post on X (formerly Twitter) Monday, West Shore RCMP said it had received four calls on Sunday, May 12, regarding black bears eating residential garbage in Langford.

“Residents are reminded to secure garbage and not store food outside,” wrote RCMP in the social media post that included a link to the BC Conservation Officer Service (BC COS), which often responds to calls regarding bears.

The COS lists safety tips on its website and urges people to keep trash inside until the morning of garbage collection. Bear Smart also shares tips and says to never store garbage outside unless it’s in a bear-proof container.

“It is much easier to keep food away from a wild bear in the first place than it is to teach who has already been rewarded with human food/waste to stop accessing that easy, high-calorie source,” says Bear Smart.

“Securing attractants is the single best way to keep people safe, prevent property damage, and avoid the unnecessary killing of bears that come into conflict with people.”

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At least one Greater Victoria municipality is rolling out more bear-proof garbage bins, with View Royal council approving a new pilot project this past March.

Two locals, Andrea and Alaina Miller, attended the council meeting and pushed for the bins after a bear with food-conditioned behaviour was put down by COS officers last June. The pair had set up a memorial for the bear and her cubs at Thetis Lake Park.

“I was distraught,” Alaina told CHEK News at the time. “How sad is that? Imagine just one day your mom is gone.”

Through a freedom of information request, Fur-Bearers found that 581 black bears were killed by B.C.’s Conservation Office in 2021. In 2022, 500 were euthanized.

Speaking with CHEK News, the wildlife charity said it was calling on local governments, businesses, and residents to do more to address the number of black bears being killed, including helping reduce their reliance on garbage as a food source.

“Garbage, birdseed and pet food etc. attracts bears to your property making it more likely for the bear to break into your home creating a safety risk for your family and a death sentence for the bear,” added Bear Smart.

The COS has more bear safety tips online here.

It says people can report aggressive or threatening bears by calling 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP).

-with files from CBC, CHEK’s Kori Sidaway

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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