Okanagan Landing residents warned about hungry bears

Hungry black bears are causing issues along waterfront homes in Okanagan Landing

Hungry black bears are causing issues along waterfront homes in Okanagan Landing.

The problem area is at waterfront homes on Okanagan Landing Road just past Paddlewheel Park, where conservation officers have received lots of complaints of a large black bear showing up on doorsteps and decks looking for food or ripping apart garbage.

“Complaints are peaking on Wednesday nights because most residents put their garbage out the night before as collection starts at 7 a.m.,” said Marnie Cuthill, City of Vernon WildSafeBC community coordinator.

“Most everyone I have talked to are retirees. I garbage surveyed this area in June and July and more than 60 per cent of households had their garbage out on the road the night before.”

Two weeks ago, Cuthill said she put up Bear Alert posters, sent out an information bulletin to the Okanagan Landing Community Association members and attended the community garage sale with an information booth in hopes of getting the message out.

Last Thursday morning, garbage cans were spread everywhere along Okanagan Landing Road according to one of the callers – and there were even more calls to the conservation officer reporting line.

“This bear is definitely garbage habituated and has no fear of humans, and the latest call now reported a younger second black bear,” said Cuthill. “The good news is that they should be heading for hibernation at any time now so if people will just be responsible with their garbage and pick any remaining fruit off their trees, the problem will be gone – at least until spring.”

Cuthill is asking the waterfront residents to keep their garbage in until Thursday morning.

“Just because they don’t see the bear, doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem,” she said.