With the summer gardens we love coming to an end, there is no doubt it will be attracting wildlife prior to hibernation. In this season of harvest in Lynn Valley’s forests and yards becoming more bear aware will help you and our furry neighbours.
Preventing backyard bears
The North Shore Black Bear Society has some tips to make your yard less attractive to bears and other wildlife.
- Pick fruit promptly
- Clean fallen fruit from the ground
- Ask for help if can’t tackle the fruit yourself
If residents are unable to pick the fruit on their property for some reason – being away at the time the fruit matures or being unable to climb a ladder, or other reasons ask friends and neighbours if they’d like to share the bounty.
The North Shore Black Bear Society is at the forefront of human-animal interaction education. They partner with government organizations at all levels to improve our cohabitation with bears. It will also place Bear-in-Area signs, answer questions, make home visits, and canvass areas where bears are reported.
If you see a bear in your backyard, remember that it is in your territory so do what you can to safely discourage the bear.
Here are some ideas:
- Give the bear lots of space, and go inside with your pets.
- If the bear is eating – let it finish as eating is its number one priority.
- From a safe vantage point, shout loudly, bang pots or throw water balloons and wave your arms to let the bear know it is not welcome. Remember to accompany the unwelcoming experience with your voice.
- When the bear has left, remove all attractants from yard. Keep in mind that it will likely return several times to check for the same source of food that it found before.
- Let your neighbours know about the bear and tell them to remove attractants.
- Report your sighting.
If you see a bear up a tree, give it some space by leaving the area or going inside if you are at home. A black bear will climb a tree because it is anxious and stressed. Let the bear come down in its own time. It may wait until nightfall. Do not bring extra attention to the bear by inviting friends and neighbours.
NSBBS recommends if you see a bear leaving a tree, from inside your home shout, make loud noises or use noisemakers to reinforce that it is not welcome.
Bear and attractant sightings can be reported to the North Shore Black Bear Society at:
- northshorebears.com REPORT IT
If you personally encounter a bear in your yard or on a trail, these are the NSBBS’s tips on how to handle the situation:
Remember the four S’s:
- Stay calm
- Stand still – Do Not Run!
- Speak calmly
- Slowly back away
Green bins and garbage carts
The NSBBS has been working with the District of North Vancouver to help establish best practices with garbage bins and green bins to ensure our neighbourhoods are not attractive to bears and other wildlife.
Lockable carts are bear-resistant, not bear-proof. Therefore, people who store their carts outside should not have odorous food scraps in their carts. The odours attract wildlife and can lead to property damage.
The DNV and the NSBBS recommend that:
- odorous food scraps (especially meat and fish scraps) be kept frozen until the morning of collection
- other food scraps should be wrapped in newspaper to reduce odour and mess and layered with yard trimmings
- carts should be washed out periodically to keep them clean and as odour-free as possible
- no carts, including those containing only yard trimmings, should be placed at the curbside before 5:30 a.m. on the designated collection day.
Questions about household waste storage and collection can be forwarded to District staff at 604.990.2311. Information is also available at DNV.org/bear-aware or from the North Shore Black Bear Society.
(Most images courtesy of North Shore Black Bear Society)