EDITORIAL: Keep trash away from bears

With bear complaints rising, now is the time for North Okanagan residents to be responsible

Bear complaints are climbing in the North Okanagan but residents have to understand that they play a primary role in the situation.

Bears are always hungry, especially in the late summer and early fall when they are building up fat levels for hibernation. It doesn’t take long for a bear to realize that garbage is an easy source of food.

And it is that addiction that brings bears into potential conflict with people. The general outcome is a bear being destroyed because of the risk they increasingly pose.

But such a death sentence can be avoided if residents do their part.

Keep your garbage can in a secure location, and while you are at it, pull down the bird feeders because the birds don’t need the food in the summer and the seed draws bears. Clean up fruit as it begins to ripen and monitor your compost.

There are those who suggest conservation officers live trap garbage addicted bears and relocate them instead of destroying them but that is more an emotional response than a practical one. Once an animal is hooked on trash, they will walk for several kilometres to the nearest neighbourhood instead of returning to natural food sources.

With bear complaints rising, now is the time for North Okanagan residents to be responsible and ensure their four-legged neighbours are protected.