It’s the time of year when bears are moving through our community.
Bears that are not lingering and interacting with our property and us have not yet been habituated to humans, and do not let humans get too close to them.
Bears that start using human-provided foods can become food-conditioned. When bears quit moving through the community and start using the community as a foraging area for human-provided foods then conflicts develop.
We create so many attractants and opportunities for wildlife to become habituated and into conflict with us. A general approach to wildlife conflicts where you live is to go over in your mind: Is there something that is bringing the wildlife into my living space?
Sooke June Bear conflicts:
Bears have been reported attracted by garbage stored outdoors on Ludlow Road, Sooke River Road, Kirby Road, Helgensen Road, Throup Road.
Bears reported attracted by chickens on Sooke River Road, Kirby Road, Farmer Road, Otter Point Road.
Bears reported in compost and digesters on Ayum Road, Otter Point Road.
Keep bears from becoming food-conditioned and from becoming human habituated.
Please learn these ways you can keep your neighbourhood safe and share the following with your neighbours:
• Store garbage in a secure building until collection day, Use bird feeders only in the winter, Feed pets indoors, clean barbeques after use by burning off the grill entirely
• Use electric fencing to protect chickens and livestock, keep feed secured indoors or in bear resistant containers.
• Store freezers indoors if possible. If left outside, clean outside of freezer after every use to remove food residue.
• Food smokers and the preparation and curing of wild meat can be an attractant – consider using electric fencing.
• Store petroleum products in a secure enclosure.
• Never leave a cooler outside unless it has been thoroughly cleaned.
• Vegetable gardens may become an attractant if a bear has already gained other food rewards on your property. Consider electric fencing.
• The key to a healthy compost is ensuring equal amounts of brown and green materials. Layer your greens, such as kitchen scraps and fresh grass clippings with no more than 10 cm of browns, such as dried leaves, grasses, shredded newspaper and cardboard. Avoid adding cereals or grains. Do not add fish, meat, fat, oils, un-rinsed eggshells, or any cooked food. Freeze these until collection day.
To change the behavior of bears, we must first change our own. Don’t wait until you have a problem to do something about it. It is our responsibility if we choose to live in bear country to learn how to live with bears.
“We can all “keep wildlife wild and our community safe.”
Debbie Read – Wild Wise Sooke Community Coordinator
Report human-bear conflicts to the Conservation Officer Service’s toll-free RAPP line (1-877-952-7277).