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WildSafeBC plans to tag garbage cans put out at night in Quesnel, Williams Lake

The program’s co-ordinator is encouraging residents to manage bear attractants
A black bear checks out the compost in a rural property outside Williams Lake at the end of May. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

WildSafeBC’s community co-ordinator for the Cariboo will be tagging garbage cans in Quesnel and Williams Lake in an effort to help resident manage bear attractants.

Ted Traer said people need to keep pet food and bird feeders inside, pick fruit, don’t leave fresh food in the top of composts and wait until the morning of garbage pick up to place garbage cans at the curb.

“At this time of year in preparation for winter bears are eating themselves out of house and home,” he said. “They consume 40,000 calories a day and a bird feeder alone has 11,000 calories per kilogram. That’s 25 per cent of a bear’s daily food intake.”

Traer has a bear skull he takes around to when he visits schools and shows students the nasal cavity, which is the size of a loonie.

A bear has an ‘amazing’ sense of smell and can smell something one kilometre away.

“I saw one garbage can that was oozing and stinky and thought, that needs to be washed out,” Traer said.

READ MORE: WildSafe BC coordinator begins work in Cariboo

He also recently visited a property owner who had a bear get into its beehives, even though there was an electric fence set up.

“The wire was way too loose and the bear got through, but we addressed the problem and the bear hasn’t been back,” he added.

Any garbage bins placed on the curb the night before pickup will be tagged with a bright yellow sticker that serves as a warning to residents that their garbage is an attractant.

By warning residents and educating the public about attractant management through initiatives such as garbage tagging, WildSafeBC hopes to prevent human-wildlife conflict in the Cariboo Regional District.

Traer said he will be making some school visits in the fall, all dependent on COVID restrictions, and has visited both the Quesnel and Williams Lake farmers markets.

“I also did a workshop on electric fencing,” he said.

Funding for WildSafeBC is provided by the Cariboo Regional District, Quesnel and Williams Lake and the District of 100 Mile House, the British Columbia Conservation Foundation, and the Province of B.C.

For further information about the program or for tips on wildlife safety visit the website

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Monica Lamb-Yorski

About the Author: Monica Lamb-Yorski

A B.C. gal, I was born in Alert Bay, raised in Nelson, graduated from the University of Winnipeg, and wrote my first-ever article for the Prince Rupert Daily News.
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