Bears have been observed in the West Bench area near Penticton. The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen urges residents to take precautions to prevent bear encounters. (Black Press file photo)

Bears have been observed in the West Bench area near Penticton. The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen urges residents to take precautions to prevent bear encounters. (Black Press file photo)

Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen urges care to prevent bear encounters

Bears have been seen in West Bench area near Penticton

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen is urging residents to take measures to avoid conflicts with bears.

Throughout the regional district, there have been numerous bear sightings in recent weeks, including some in the West Bench area of Electoral Area F.

“All bear sightings in neighbourhood areas should be reported to the BC Conservation Officer Service,” said Riley Gettens, director for Electoral Area F. “This helps track the location of bears in the region and minimize or prevent dangerous encounters.”

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Garbage is the primary attractant for bears and the regional district is urging residents in Electoral Areas D, E, F and I toplace garbage at the curb on the day of collection only, in order to reduce wildlife conflicts. Certified wildlife resistant containers may be placed to the curb the night before.

The regional district has additional tips to prevent the risk of bear conflicts:

• Keep your garbage secure; store it in a secure location indoors, or in a wildlife resistant container.

• Only put your garbage, recycling or compost out on the day of collection, never the night before.

• Manage your fruit trees so that fruit is picked as it ripens and no windfall accumulates.

• Bring bird feeders in from April to November and when they are out, ensure that the ground beneath it is kept free of seeds.

• Feed pets indoors.

• Maintain your compost so it does not smell. Add fruit slowly. Never add meat or other animal products.

• Protect orchards, beehives and small livestock with a properly installed and maintained electric fence.

• Respect wild animals by not feeding them. Food-conditioned animals are more likely to come into conflict.

• Keep barbeques clean and odour-free.

• Report any wildlife conflicts immediately to the BC Conservation Officer Service RAPP line: 1-877-952-7277.

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