Attractant management is key when aiming to reduce wildlife encounters in residential areas. Residents of bear country have a responsibility to manage attractants on their property. Every year bears are killed on the North Shore for accessing unnatural food sources in the community.
Between 500-1000 bears are killed every year in B.C because of human-bear conflicts, at a cost of over 1 million dollars. These numbers are increasing. Loss of habitat due to development and increasing human populations in bear country, are creating a rise in human-bear conflicts. Most bears are killed not because they are aggressive, but because they have been attracted to residential areas by improperly managed garbage, bird seed, unpicked fruit trees and other attractants.
Every year black bears are killed by Conservation Officers on the North Shore. The number of black bears killed in North and West Vancouver (listed below) does not include bears killed by vehicles, illegally hunted, poached, or bears killed on private property.
Bear season refers to the time of year when bears are not denning, usually early March to late November on the North Shore. With two layers of fur to keep them warm and dry, bears don't den to hide from the cold. Not enough natural food sources are available to sustain a bear over the long winter months, so they conserve their energy and spend their winters in a den. For up to 6 months black bears don't need to drink, eat, or go to the bathroom!
Black bears aren't true hibernators, they don't go into a deep sleep whilst denning. They move around, stretch, sometimes leave their dens and can be easily woken. Female black bears give birth to their cubs inside the den around the end of January, early February.
Because bears den when natural food sources are low, if humans leave unnatural food sources available, some bears don't den for the winter. Black bears can be active year-round at any time of day. The North Shore Black Bear Society has received reports of bear activity over the winter, placing signs in some neighbourhoods in January. We can't become complacent with managing our wildlife attractants, just because we assume the bears are asleep. Our human habits are interfering with a bear's natural instinct to hibernate.
Put your garbage at curbside on the morning of pick-up only.
Store your garbage bins in the house, in a garage or in a bear-resistant container.
Clean your garbage bins on a regular basis with a bleach, ammonia or vinegar solution.
Freeze the skin, bones and leftovers of fish and meat and the packaging until the morning of garbage pickup.
fruit as it ripens and keep the ground clear of fallen fruit. Excess fruit can
be offered to neighbours and friends. If you are unable to pick your fruit,
please contact the North Shore Fruit Tree Project at www.northshorefruittreeproject.ca
or firstname.lastname@example.org or 604.983.6444 (ext 640).
This non-profit society will pick your fruit, leave you up to 25% of the fruit
that volunteers pick, and donate the remaining fruit to local residents who are
in need through the North Shore Harvest Project, the North Vancouver Salvation
Army and Sage Transition House.
Bird feeders. Some people make their birdfeeders inaccessible to bears while others feed only small amounts of high quality seed at a time. Other residents choose to take down bird feeders during bear season as there is plenty of natural food for birds at that time. Some people attract birds by providing a flower garden, bird bath, dusting site, or nesting boxes.
Compost. A healthy compost requires equal proportions of green (nitrogen-rich) and brown (carbon-rich) materials. Greens include fruits and vegetable scraps, fresh grass clippings, plant trimmings, coffee grounds and tea bags. Brown materials include fallen leaves, sawdust, torn up paper egg cartons, rolls from toilet paper and paper towels, paper towels, napkins and coffee filters. Eggshells that have been washed well and crushed can also be added.
It is important to add oxygen to the compost by poking deep holes throughout with a long stick.
How to Compost in Bear Country
Questions about composting can be answered on the Compost Hotline - 604.736.2250.
Food left outside. Pet food, fridges and freezers are bear attractants and should not be stored outdoors.
Barbecues. Remember to clean your barbecue after each use by burning it on high for 10 minutes and scraping off any food from the grill. It is important to remove the grease container and take it indoors to empty and clean after each use.
The District of North Vancouver will be issuing two lockable carts to each single-family home late in 2016 or early 2017.
In the District of West Vancouver and the City of North Vancouver, lockable carts can be used for storage purposes only as the collection is done manually.
Please contact your municipality or call 604.317.4911 for more information.
The TuffBoxx residential line of animal resistant storage solutions, are top lid loaded bins for securely storing residential waste. These containers are designed to keep bears, raccoons, dogs, squirrels, birds, and any other wildlife from accessing your garbage.