Last week, a bear broke into several homes in Arrow Heights, some of them twice. Bears in other parts of town have also been causing havoc — ripping siding off houses, breaking fences, tearing into garbage sheds, pushing on windows, and generally becoming very comfortable dining on our unmanaged foods.
“The houses and garages I know of are all in Arrow Heights; flimsy garbage storage sheds — there has been a sprinkling all over town; fences — everywhere — too many to mention; bears have also been reported feeding on garbage left in open trucks and on back porches, etc.,” says Bear Aware Coordinator Sue Davies “Time to tidy things up in Revelstoke and put away the garbage!”
She said these bears have a history of getting into our non-natural food sources; they didn’t just suddenly start breaking into homes, they came to it because we left garbage and other foods out as an invitation, says Bear Aware Coordinator Sue Davies.
“Many people feel that bears were here first and we should just accept that they are a part of the natural world here in Revelstoke,” she said in a statement released on Monday, October 27. “That may be true, however, when bears were in this valley before the town of Revelstoke was here, this was just another valley and garbage, garden-variety fruit trees, bird-feeders, and pet food were not here as an attractant.
“We, the community of Revelstoke, have made this area a place where non-natural food sources for bears are over abundant. We cannot blame the bears for acting on their instincts and coming here from far and wide to partake of the food we leave out.
The prognosis for these food-conditioned bears is not good.
Nine bears have been killed in town so far this year, including the one that was publicly captured after spending the night in a tree by Home Hardware not long ago. Davies said these bears that have become break-and-enter specialists will probably be removed and destroyed as soon as possible.
“They have become conditioned to eating human food, habituated to humans, and are now considered a public safety concern,” she said.
“As responsible humans, we can think this through and realize that attracting bears and then destroying them because they are large, powerful, and unpredictable is unacceptable. To live here in harmony with the local population of bears we need to make absolutely sure that we keep all our food sources secured. “
Garbage is the most common bear attractant in Revelstoke, especially at this time of year when fruit trees are mostly finished. It is the responsibility of each and every resident of Revelstoke to ensure that their garbage is not accessible to bears. Quite aside from the bylaw that says as much, our neighbourhood safekeeping depends upon it.
“Unfortunately there are many people in Revelstoke who do not have a garage or access to another form of bear resistant garbage storage. We suggest that careful management of your garbage is the best practice. Keep all food waste separate and store in the freezer in a sealed bag until collection day.
“The City is currently considering creating a bear-resistant garbage collection system. Please lend your support to this issue by asking Council candidates their views on timely implementation of the system.”
For more information regarding management of wildlife attractants, please see www.revelstokebearaware.org. To report a conflict with a bear please call the RAPP line on 1-877-952-7277. Conservation Officers from Golden and Vernon will respond to calls in Revelstoke.