With bears preparing for hibernation the city’s new wildlife attractant bylaw is about to be put to the test. The law, which was enacted in June, seeks to reduce the likelihood of bears entering the city.
“This is our busiest time of year for bears,” said Bear Aware community co-ordinator Joanne Siderius.
Siderius, who championed the new bylaw, is confident that if residents abide by it there will be a likely decrease in bear sightings in residential areas.
“There will always be bears, we live in bear country there will be bears in Nelson there will be bears in surrounding communities,” she said. “But what we would like to do is keep bears from feeding close to home.”
One possible stumbling block to the new wildlife bylaw is the lack of similar bylaws in surrounding areas.
“Bears don’t recognize political boundaries,” said Siderius.
If bears enter surrounding areas there’s always the possibility that they may wander into the city in search of more food.
For that reason Bear Aware is encouraging rural residents to use electronic fences to discourage bears.
“They don’t like getting the shock on their nose,” Siderius said. “A properly constructed predator electronic fence gives out enough of a shock that they don’t want to go near.”
While wildlife bylaws in surrounding areas seems the next logical step, right now Siderius believes the timing is wrong as regional districts are huge areas and it’s more difficult to enact such a bylaws in these areas. For now it’s up to rural residents to take the initiative.
Last year there were 31 grizzly calls in Nelson and its surrounding areas, a significant increase from past years. Experts speculate that the increase may have been a result of plentiful huckleberry crops two years ago.
In all likelihood the bears that fed on those crops may have experienced increased pregnancies and multiple births (three cubs instead of the normal one or two). Since the huckleberry crops were not as plentiful last year, those cubs were then forced to wander into the city looking for nourishment.
The bylaw calls for residents to store garbage in a wildlife resistant structure until garbage collection day.
It also requires residents leave their garbage at the curb only between 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. on collection day. Those in violation of the law may find themselves being billed for the service if the city is forced to clean up after them.
To read the wildlife attract bylaw in-depth residents can visit the City website or contact the City for more information.