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Bear activity in Central Okanagan a concern for conservation officers

‘Securing attractants is the single best way to keep people safe, and avoid unnecessary killing of bears’

The BC Conservation Officer Service is urging homeowners to properly secure garbage and remove other potential food sources that could attract bears.

“Unfortunately bears are currently very active in our urban areas because they are able to access people’s unprotected garbage, birdseed, compost, dog food, and beehives,” said Conservation Officer Ken Owens.

Recently, Kelowna has had bears in the McCulloch, Upper Mission, Magic Estates, Clifton, Knox Mountain, Harvey, and Dilworth areas repeatedly getting into unprotected garbage near residences and businesses. West Kelowna has a family of black bears near Shannon Lake, as well as bears in Glenrosa, Rose Valley, and along Westside Road getting in garbage.

“If attractants, bears, people, and sites are not successfully managed, the public safety risk will increase and the bears will likely have to be euthanized,” said Owens. “People need to remove all non-natural bear attractants from their yards and secure them in a location bears cannot access.”

Owens added if bears return after prevention measures have been taken, jeopardizing public safety or damaging property, homeowners can call the Conservation Officer Service Report All Poachers Polluters (RAPP) line at 1-877-952-7277.

It’s an offence under the BC Wildlife Act to feed or intentionally attract bears, or negligently store attractants that may lure bears. Under the Wildlife Act, conservation officers may issue a dangerous wildlife protection order (DWPO) if food attractants, such as garbage, pose a significant safety risk.

Failing to abide by the terms of a DWPO may result in a violation ticket.

“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,” added Owens.

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Gary Barnes

About the Author: Gary Barnes

Journalist and broadcaster for three decades.
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