Thank you for being a part of our Garbage Audit Program. Please help us keep people and bears safe. Waiting until the morning to put out garbages means that bear are less likely to be attracted into your neighbourhood by tempting smells. Learn more about managing attractants.
The critical time of year has arrived again when bears reach the phase known as hyperphagia (excessive hunger or increased appetite). During this time they will consume and seek as many food sources as possible and they will continue until all of these sources are exhausted. Many natural food supplies have or soon will be gone; this leads to bears travelling into areas outside of their home range and into unfamiliar territory. In the case of Prince George this means into the city. We at the Northern Bear Awareness Society are asking the residents of Prince George to be mindful of all possible attractants such as garbage containers, hummingbird feeders and any fruit trees.
Garbage containers are and will continue to be the constant and most recognized attractant within the city. Sugar sources at this time of year are of high priority for bears. This makes hummingbird feeders so appealing. Information received from reliable sources, states’ that many of the male hummingbirds have left by now and all hummingbirds should be gone by the first week of September. With that said now would be a good time to take down the feeders. Not only so it will not attract bears but it will encourage any remaining hummingbirds to begin their migration south.
Fruit trees in Prince George are plentiful and many will go unharvested; after garbage, apple and fruit trees are the next largest attractant for bears. Cleaning any windfall that is lying on the ground and clearing the tree of any ripe fruit will decrease the encounters with a bear in your yard.
Disposal of excess and unwanted fruit is also critical. There may be people out there with livestock who would be interested in receiving feed for their animals or an organization that supports those less fortunate. Deposing of fruit in the weekly waste collection just moves the problem from one source to the next and increases the possibility of a bear sensing the apples in the container before pick up. One further reminder, revisions to the BC Wildlife Act state it is illegal to attract or feed dangerous wildlife, if caught heavy fines may be issued from the Conservation Officers Service.
I would like to close this letter with a little bit of science. A logical and accepted theory has to do with the reproductive cycle of the black bear known as delayed implantation. After the mating in late spring and early summer, the female may be carrying up to five fertilized eggs but these will not implant until hibernation starts. How much weight the expectant mother has gained during the summer and fall months will determine how many of these fertilized eggs will implant and begin to grow. If a female bears’ diet has been supplemented with attractants such as garbage, birdseed, and apples her ability to give birth to larger litters is increased. By allowing bears to access to more than what is available naturally could be a contributing factor to the high incident reports here in Prince George because we are assisting with the bears reproduction and survival rates. Being proactive will help keep bears out of our neighborhoods’ which is good for us all, Please do not feed the bears.