Garbage is the most reported attractant across the province that leads to conflict with black bears. It also leads to conflict with a variety of other wildlife including grizzly bears, wolves, coyotes, raccoons, skunks, rats, ravens, deer and more. In order to reduce these conflicts and raise awareness, WildSafeBC community coordinators perform “bin tagging” in their communities with the support of local funding partners.
What is bin tagging? Bin tagging is an educational activity performed by a WildSafeBC community coordinator. It consists of placing a highly visible and removable sticker on containers set curbside on public property the day before collection or outside of times stated in local bylaws. WildSafeBC provides information on these bylaws but does not enforce them or deliver fines.
Garbage, compost and recyclables set on the curb at night are attractants for many animals and is the leading cause of human-bear conflicts. Organic contents in our solid waste become an easy target and lead to food conditioning. Food conditioning is a learned behaviour where animals begin to associate people, or our property, with a food reward. This can lead to safety concerns. With the absence of a food reward, wildlife are more likely to pass through our communities rather than remain to forage. This helps keep wildlife wild and improve community safety for our neighbours, friends and family.
What can you do? Keep your garbage, compost and recyclables stored in a secure indoor location at all times except on the day of collection. Even empty garbage cans or recyclables can have smells or provide visual cues that may prompt a bear to investigate. If you do not have a secure enclosure and are not able to build one then consider investing in certified bear-resistant containers that are secured to a structure so that they cannot be dragged away. You can also consider freezing smelly food waste until the morning of collection.
WildSafeBC Cariboo is grateful for the generous support the program receives from its funders including the cities of Quesnel, Williams Lake and the District of 100 Mile House and the Cariboo Regional District, the British Columbia Conservation Foundation and the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.
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