Garbage causing conflict with bears in Cowichan

Officials are reminding people not to put out their garbage the night before collection

People in the Cowichan Valley Regional District are being reminded not to put their garbage out early, as it can attract bears. (Black Press File Photo)

In response to growing numbers of human-bear conflicts in the region, the Cowichan Valley Regional District and BC Conservation Officer Service are reminding the public not to put their garbage and recycling totes at the curb the night before collection.

According to Conservation Officer Scott Norris, there have been 230 such conflicts in Cowichan since April 1. This is a marked increase from the 350 reported for all of 2019.

Bears are attracted to curbside garbage, recycling and organic materials and are learning to repeatedly seek out these food sources in residential areas, a press release from the CVRD said. The CVRD has been working with WildsafeBC and BC Conservation Officers for several years to reduce human-bear conflicts in the region. It is evident that the simplest way to reduce these conflicts is to keep curbside totes securely stored and off the street until the morning of collection.

“We are fortunate in the Cowichan Valley to have such an abundance of wildlife and natural spaces bordering our communities,” said Aaron Stone, chair of the Cowichan Valley Regional District. “But this proximity to wildlife comes with a collective responsibility to ensure we are doing our part to keep these animals safe and wild.”

A CVRD bylaw stipulates that curbside totes can’t be brought out to the curb before 5 a.m. on the day of collection. Residents who put their garbage and recycling at the curb prior to 5 a.m. will have warning stickers placed on their totes, and repeat offenders will be issued fines of up to $230 by CVRD bylaw staff and BC Conservation Officers.

“Conservation officers don’t want to destroy bears, so fines will be issued as a measure to protect bears from becoming habituated to garbage and other food sources in residential areas,” said Scott Norris, BC Conservation Officer for the Cowichan Valley region. “We know it’s inconvenient for many to wake up early and bring their totes to the curb, but we hope residents will take heed and help protect our wildlife and our communities.”

While some residents may not mind having a bear visit their yard, it can become a dangerous situation for neighbouring children and pets. Bears that learn to repeatedly seek out food in residential areas will have to be destroyed, as moving a bear from its territory is rarely successful. It is also unsafe for bears in residential areas and they have been known to eat plastic and similar inedible items from curbside bins that smell appetizing, which can lead to a prolonged and painful death.

For tips on how to be bear smart, visit www.wildsafebc.com. Residents are asked to report bear sightings and human-wildlife conflicts using the Report All Poachers and Polluters telephone line at 1-877-952-7277.

Wildlife

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alf Todd on a mission to fight Parkinson’s disease

Todd and group hope to raise $10,000 riding bikes to Port Alberni

Cowichan residents can Climb for Alzheimer’s in their own backyard

for the first time ever, open to anyone, anywhere in the province

Battle of Fairy Creek: blockade launched to save Vancouver Island old-growth

‘Forest Defenders’ occupy road to prevent logging company from reaching Port Renfrew-area watershed

STANDING TALL: For some, B.C.’s forest industry is the best office in the world

A look at the forest sector in B.C. – and those hoping for the best – amid mill curtailments

Doctor slain in Alberta medical clinic was devoted father, husband

Red Deer doctors on edge after attack on colleague who had two young daughters

Royal B.C. Museum wants B.C.’s COVID-19 nature observations

COVID-19 Collecting For Our Time: ongoing project cataloguing province’s pandemic experience

Feds offer ‘life preserver’ funds to BC Ferries as pandemic sinks revenue

For every dollar the province spends the federal government will match

Reimagined campaign continues to make Vancouver Island wishes come true

#UnWinedOutside allows participants to support Make-A-Wish Foundation, local businesses

Bad behaviour at B.C. restaurants ignites campaign calling for respect

“If you can’t follow the rules, then stay home,” says BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association

Addition pending to Cape Scott Provincial Park?

BC Parks will wait before announcing plans for nearly $1 million old growth land purchase

Frustration mounts as Metchosin sheep slaughter continues

Metchosin mayor upset with B.C. Conservation’s response as bear feeds on farm animals

Over half of Americans oppose Trump tariff on Canadian aluminum: survey

The survey was conducted Aug. 7 to 9 among 1,513 Canadians and 1,003 Americans

Most Read