“Those who leave garbage out can be fined $230 for attracting dangerous wildlife.It’s so unfortunate for these bears,” said conservation officer Rick Dekelver. It’s so preventable, but it’s an ongoing battle to get people to change their ways and put their garbage away.”
Serious efforts and resources have been put in place to educate the community, increase safety and reduce the accessibility of bear attractants. The education program Wild Wise Sooke is running constantly, signs are out and flyers handed out However, we have challenges. There are garbage cans out all the time, and as long as people keep leaving their garbage out it’s going to continue to be a problem.
Black bears are such adaptable and smart creatures and they learn ways to get to their highly-coveted calories. That first taste of someone’s leftovers in an unsecured garbage receptacle leads them onto a dangerous path – both for us and for them.
Sooke lies in prime bear habitat with a patchwork of travel pathways that allow bears to pop in and out of security cover. Berry bushes border our trails, large fruit trees become overburdened with fruit that are too high to be picked, someone forgets to secure garbage indoors, puts can out to early for pick up or leaves their bird feeder out.
It just takes that one time and the bear has learned a new behaviour. Once they receive that caloric reward they take more chances and become more destructive. They will break the branches off of fruit trees, drag totes away to break into them or defend their territory with a defensive charge or swat.
“In all accounts, unfortunately, bears suffer because of bad habits on the part of humans.
“Can’t blame the bears – they’re just following their noses… We really need the public to step up and talk to their neighbours and make sure there’s no attractants.”
So far, five of the bears spotted this year have been put down due to conflicts. However, with so many habituated bear sightings and with fruit season on the way, the number could climb if people are irresponsible.
“As a community we need to take ownership of the problem,” , we all should be encouraging people to talk to their neighbours
We can not be complacent, we can learn more about what We Can Do to reduce your impact on bears and other wildlife. “I think a good question for everybody in Sooke to ask themselves [is] if you see a bear in your space, you should ask yourself what am I doing to attract this bear.”
Don’t wait. Check out the accurate, science-based information we have on our website (www.wildwisesooke.com), and see our Facebook page or ask me for some advice. I’m here to help and share my knowledge so we don’t all keep repeating history.
Wild Wise Sooke
A community program
- Reminder from Wild Wise Sooke: Manage your fruit trees, be bear aware
- Bear Aware Reminder: Garbage management, bylaws, and fines
- Fifth bear killed in Sooke
- Recent bear kills (4) attributed to human-generated attractants
- As fruit ripens, non-habituated bears will move into the forests
- Increased bear sightings, what you need to know, and how to keep bears alive
- Bear sightings at Potholes, between parking lots 3 and 2
- How bears communicate (Video)
- A sure sign of spring for residents of Sooke is the return of bears.
- Bear in Area signs emerge from hibernation