Spring has arrived in Nelson, so have the bears

Bear sightings in Nelson and area caused by the presence of bear attractants have been leading to conflicts between people and bears

A bear investigates a garbage can

Spring has arrived in Nelson and the bears are out again.

Bear sightings in Nelson and area caused by the presence of bear attractants have been leading to conflicts between people and bears, the RDCK wrote in a press release recently.

“The bears have woken up… and people need to wake up too,” said Bear Aware community coordinator, Joanne Siderius

It’s reported that a young black bear is entering vehicles on the North Shore and have been seen getting into garbage and bird feeders in Blewett.

Last year 15 black bears were destroyed in the area, including two within Nelson. The RDCK said that most of these animals were destroyed because they were feeding in garbage or fruit. Two grizzly cubs that were relocated from the area in 2010 returned in 2011. The cubs were consistently eating garbage in Nelson and Blewett and were destroyed after charging a resident.

“Once a bear learns to feed on garbage it learns that it’s a constant resource, it will come back and it will learn to look for garbage in the community,” said Siderius.

According to the RDCK, an average of 600 bears are destroyed in BC annually, mostly due to poorly managed bear attractants.

“That’s gone down from about 900 bears in the province 10 years ago, that’s because of a variety of factors… but we should be able to keep from destroying any bears because of garbage,” she said.

The RDCK is urging people to keep garbage in a location inaccessible to bears and not set up bird feeders until November. Compost, chickens, pet food and smelly garbage are bear attractors when improperly managed.

Under the Wildlife Act, is it illegal to allow bears access to garbage and other bear attractants and significant fines will follow.

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