Roll up the welcome mat for bears

Do your part to keep attractants to a minimum

File photo

At this time of year, bears are in “hyperphagia”, a period of intense eating and drinking in preparation for enduring their long, winter sleep. This is a time of year when the risk of conflict between people and bears is high, because bears are often out feeding during the day as they try to meet their nutritional requirements of up to 20,000 calories a day. A few people think that bears will starve if they don’t get help from humans heading into winter. This is very false! Bears have survived without human help for millennia, and they are very capable of finding natural food sources and water outside of urban areas. Bears choose to hang around urban areas because there is abundant, easy food they can access (such as garbage and fruit trees), and this is why many bears choose to live near humans and tolerate human activity. Unfortunately, this human tolerance often leads to “habituation”, which is the gradual loss of fear and wariness of people. It leads to boldness, and in some cases aggression, towards people and pets.

Habituation results in bears being put down in order to protect the safety of the general public. The worst part of this is that habituation is most often caused by neglectful people, who don’t make an effort to remove attractants from their yards and ensure their property is not inviting to wildlife. They are essentially “putting out the welcome mat” for wildlife to hang around their property, and to learn that it’s okay to tolerate humans and human activity because they receive a food reward in return. We can ALL help prevent the unnecessary habituation and destruction of bears by encouraging them not to spend time in our urban areas and by removing attractants from our properties. If there is nothing to draw a bear close to human property, then the chances of habituation are greatly lowered! Below are some very important things to remember over the next 3-4 weeks, as bears begin to transition from hyperphagia to their winter state of “torpor” (a very deep sleep).

• Hyperphagic bears are consuming extreme amounts of food and water, and urinating and defecating many times per day! You will likely see a lot of bear scat in areas where you have hyperphagic bears.

• Bears will often be out eating for more than 20 hours per day. Your chances of seeing or encountering a bear during the daylight hours are much higher now

• If you do see a bear, remember to stay in your vehicle or house, or retreat to a safe location and do not approach the animal. If it’s safe to do so, give it a honk with your car horn or bang some pots and pans together to give it negative reinforcement about being near humans. Report the sighting to RAPP: 1-877-952-7277.

• Pick your fruit trees, and remove as many chokecherries from the bushes around your property as you can! Make sure your garbage, bird-feeders, pumpkins, and other smelly attractants are kept clean and secured indoors. Don’t be the neighbour who leaves out the “welcome mat”.

For more, please check out

WildSafeBC is funded in part by the BC Ministry of Environment, District of Invermere, Village of Radium, RDEK Areas F & G, and Columbia Basin Trust.

Just Posted

Young Hearts Triathlon

Annual event saw racers of all ages swim, bike, and run their way to a cheering finish line on Saturday, July 13th

Museum presents old time film festival

Series of six films Saturday, July 20th through Sunday, July 21st at museum

Peddling the practice of bikepacking

Growing sport of backcountry biking in the Valley

Balancing aesthetics and affordability in Canal Flats

Canal Flats Council briefs of July 8th

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Japanese Canadians call on B.C. to go beyond mere apology for historic racism

The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against ‘enemy aliens’

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

Two dead in two-vehicle crash between Revelstoke and Golden

RCMP are investigating the cause of the crash

Ottawa fights planned class action against RCMP for bullying, intimidation

The current case is more general, applying to employees, including men, who worked for the RCMP

Alberta judge denies B.C.’s bid to block ‘Turn Off the Taps’ bill

He said the proper venue for the disagreement is Federal Court

Most Read