Believe it or not, bears are not like Winnie the Pooh or Yogi. They are not after honey pots and picnic baskets. But one thing the cute and cuddly cartoon bears do share with our local bears: they all get hungry.
Last week, a young grizzly bear was spotted in Rosemont, and as summer comes to a close and the bears start gearing up for hibernation there is the chance that he could be joined by some furry friends.
There are a lot of attractants in cities that draw bears close to humans. They like the fruit we leave on the trees, our garbage and our compost.
Not only are we putting ourselves in harm’s way by attracting bears into town but we’re also putting them in danger because problem bears are often shot.
In June, city council adopted a bylaw that says garbage can only be placed at the curb between 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. on the day of collection. If it’s stored outside in the interim, it has to be in a bear resistant container or secure building.
It also prohibits feeding wildlife or feeding “other animals in a manner that is likely to attract wildlife,” restricts bird feeder use during bear season, requires fruit tree owners to pick up and dispose of fallen produce and barbecue users to keep their equipment clean and free of residual food.
But even though it’s the law to help protect ourselves and bears, there is still garbage being left out for bears to enjoy.
Bear Aware is planning on hitting the streets to do garbage raids, but is it their job to educate the public about the bear bylaw or is it the city’s?
If we aren’t willing to enforce the bylaw then why was it created?
When the bylaw was adopted, it was mentioned that education was more important than enforcement, but unfortunately there seems to be a lack of both.
As bear season draws near, council needs to take a proactive approach to educating residents. We can’t rely on people to do the leg work themselves.