HUNGRY BEARS As bears are searching for food, they may be coming to a garbage can near you. (Black Press file photo)

Bears in South Okanagan searching for food before hibernating

Garbage containers left out overnight provide easy food sources

As bears are preparing for the winter, they are eating everything in sight — including garbage left out at the curb.

Because of this, Zoe Kirk, WildSafeBC Community Coordinator at the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen urges residents not to put their garbage out the night before it is collected.

She sad from early August until the bears hibernate in winter, they can forage up to 20 hours a day.

READ ALSO: Black bear dines at Summerland rabbit hutch

READ ALSO: Garbage habituated bear euthanized in North Okanagan

“They’re going to be looking for easy, high-fat meals,” she said.

Those meals can be found in garbage containers.

Summerland has had some bear sightings within the community in recent years, including some close to the downtown area. Kirk said this is due in part to the practice of setting out bins the afternoon or evening before garbage collection.

Kirk said the regional district has been working with the municipality of Summerland to encourage residents to put their garbage out on the day it is to be collected, but the message has not resulted in significant changes in behaviour.

READ ALSO: Bear killed after clawing way into home near Hope

“We worked so hard in Summerland last year when the garbage carts were rolled out,” she said.

Other communities in the South Okanagan and Similkameen do not have the ongoing problems with bears and garbage, she said.

She added that in addition to attracting bears, garbage also is an attractant to rats, which will also get into containers in search of a meal.

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