Editorial: Remember to be bear smart

Be responsible and keep bears from being habituated

Living in Sooke is synonymous with living in out in the wilderness. And one thing residents should always keep in mind is that we share our surroundings with wild animals.

Bear encounters and, albeit rare, cougar sightings are some of the joys of living in a rural area. But with that privilege comes responsibility.

The last thing anyone wants is to have a wild animal euthanized or destroyed due to human carelessness or apathy.

According to the Get Bear Smart Society website, 792 black bears and 46 grizzlies are shot by conservation officers each year in B.C. because they are deemed “problem” bears.

Although a majority of people are cognizant of their wild neighbours, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Take out your garbage bins on the morning of collection day, not the night before.

Bears are scavengers, so if you leave your garbage out, there is a likelihood a bear may snoop through it for an easy meal.

And once a bear becomes habituated to scouring through garbage, it becomes a risk to public safety.

Keep attractants out of your yard: glean fruit trees regularly, keep pet food indoors, and keep bird feeders sugar-free.

Although they are opportunistic eaters, bears are only rummaging through our trash because humans have encroached too far into their habitat.

To motivate yourself to be bear smart, remember the saying, ‘A fed bear is a dead bear.’