A black bear sow attempts to open a Pacific Waste garbage container in the Bonnie Brae subdivision on Douglas Island in July 2013. Water and wasted service won’t be discontinued for Juneauites in light of the ongoing pandemic. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire file)

A black bear sow attempts to open a Pacific Waste garbage container in the Bonnie Brae subdivision on Douglas Island in July 2013. Water and wasted service won’t be discontinued for Juneauites in light of the ongoing pandemic. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire file)

Bear shot in Lake Country due to ‘people problem’

Garbage ‘like crack cocaine’ to bears: Conservation Officer

A trash problem led to a bear being shot in Lake Country Thursday, Oct. 8.

The Conservation Officer Service (COS) has recently received numerous calls regarding bears accessing garbage, primarily in mobile home parks. One park, in particular, was having issues with a bear getting into a large centralized trash bin, which was not bear-restricted certified.

“This bear was known to us, we were trying to manage him,” Conservation Officer Ken Owens said.

But since the bear had become addicted to the garbage and habituated to the area, the COS was forced to put it down in broad daylight at 2 p.m.

“It’s just like crack cocaine,” Owens said of garbage to bears.

While the bear was causing issues, the real source is people not having their garbage secure, Owens insists.

“It’s not a bear problem, it’s a people problem.”

The owner of the trailer park was issued an order to instate a bear-restricted certified trash container, and there is a $575 daily fine if they don’t comply.

“They are ordered to come into compliance so that bears don’t come into contact with garbage.”

READ MORE: ‘Fed bears are dead bears:’ Lake Country residents warned

But this is not an isolated incident.

“Each and every one of those mobile home parks is having the same problems,” Owens said.

Bears and people coexist in the Lake Country area, but the animals are currently more prevalent as they stock up for winter.

“This time of year they are trying to put on 20-30,000 calories per day.”

On top of an excessive amount of food needed, bears have a sense of smell that is 2,100 times that of a human to sniff out their meals.

The wafting scent of ripe fruit or garbage is easy for a bear to pick up on. But the latter, packed with glass, debris and sugars, is not a healthy option.

“Bears don’t have dentists, it’s just not good for them,” Owens said.

Once a bear gets a taste for garbage, it will always seek out more. Which is why COS is often forced to kill these bears.

“Relocation does not work, when these bears get into garbage they will travel thousands of miles to get to it.”

Which is why Owens urges people to ensure their trash is inaccessible to our furry foragers.

“Regrettably it’s just kind of a pattern that keeps on happening.”

The COS receives 20-30,000 bear calls in B.C. every year. Having been a CO for 30 years, Owens said a lot of those are easily avoidable.

“It all comes down to how we handle our waste and attractants.”

While the regional districts supply trash containers to residents, very few are actually bear-restricted certified. The containers also keep out dogs, raccoons and rats, which are more prevalent in the Okanagan.

A pilot project is underway in Kelowna, West Kelowna and Lake Country with some of these certified containers.

“We’re considerably behind the times in the Okanagan,” Owens said.

With 160,000 black bears and 17-20,000 grizzly bears in B.C., Owens urges residents to protect their livestock with bear electric fences.

He notices there are a lot more backyard bees and backyard chickens in the area, but the fences are an effective and inexpensive way to protect them.

“It keeps you safe and keeps your livestock safe.”

READ MORE: Bears take the brunt of negative human behaviour in B.C.


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

bearsGarbage

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Pixabay)
‘Roadmap out of COVID-19’: Innovate BC’s program helping businesses recover

CEO Raghwa Gopal said the tech sector is here to help brick and mortar businesses

Penticton fire crews quickly put out a small blaze at a home on Duncan Ave. E Monday night. (Mike Biden photo)
UPDATE: House fire sends one to hospital

The fire at the Duncan Place home was cooking related

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin makes preparations at Toronto’s mass vaccination clinic, Jan. 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
3 deaths, 234 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

One death connected to outbreak at Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital, where 20 patients and 28 staff have tested positive

Head Brewer Kody Rosentreter, owner Wes Greve and taproom manager Lisa Deleo celebrated North Basin Brewing’s grand opening Jan. 22 and 23, 2020. (Contributed)
Osoyoos’ first microbrewery celebrates grand opening

The brewery hopes to show that the Okanagan is more than just wine country

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

A large portion of Anglemont is without running water due to a water main break on Jan. 26. (CSRD Image)
A large part of Anglemont in the North Shuswap is without water due to a water line break on Jan. 26. (Black Press File Photo)
Broken water main leaves Shuswap community without running water

The water line has left Anglemont residents either without water or with low pressure.

A woman wearing a protective face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 walks past a mural in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marissa Tiel
Five big lessons experts say Canada should learn from COVID-19:

‘What should be done to reduce the harms the next time a virus arises?’ Disease control experts answer

A Vancouver Police Department patch is seen on an officer’s uniform as she makes a phone call. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver man calls 911 to report his own stabbing, leading to arrest: police

Officers located the suspect a few blocks away. He was holding a bloody knife.

Kelowna seen from the top of Knox Mountain. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News file)
Homeownership unattainable for many Kelowna residents

Single-person and single-parent households often have limited options when it comes to housing

A Kelowna cannabis manufacturer has acquired another cannabis-based firm. (Black Press Media File)
Kelowna cannabis company acquires edibles manufacturer for $24.9 million

The Valens Company has acquired LYF Food Technologies

Vernon has agreed to a goose cull to control the over-populated invasive species making a muck of area parks and beaches. (Morning Star file photo)
Okanagan city pulls the trigger on goose cull

City asking neighbours to also help control over-population of geese

LaRae Richards loads an order for deliver via Uber Eats Wednesday afternoon at Red Onion Burgers in Mountlake Terrace on May 17, 2017. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Uber Eats comes to Kelowna

There are more than 60 businesses on the online delivery platform

Most Read