‘Problem is people, bears are predictable,’ says Okanagan Conservation

Karen Paul photo
Glen McPherson photo
Cynthia Proudlove photo
Betty Hunter photo
Betty Hunter photo
Conservation Officers performed an attractant audit in the Foothills Sunday and found many people not abiding by rules that garbage not be put out the night prior to pickup, but instead the morning of. (BC CO photo)

Bears continue to making appearances, and so do Conservation Officers.

A Desert Cove resident looked out her back door Monday morning to see a light-brown bear in her backyard. Sheri Okrainetz even caught the morning visitor on camera.

“And then he made his way up the hill to us in Stepping Stones,” said Kathy Dickson. “It’s garbage day. He was at our garbage can at 6 this a.m.”

A bear was spotted near the Pleasant Valley Cemetery in the Cascade Road area Saturday morning.

And following reports of bears in the Foothills, hanging out in backyards and ponds, COs came out Sunday evening. But the officers weren’t targeting wildlife, they were instead looking for people who were not listening to advice to keep garbage inside until the morning of pick up. An attractant audit was performed and, “Let’s just say we have some work to do Vernon,” said Micah Kneller, CO.

Kneller spent the afternoon handing out warnings and wildlife protection orders, but there were more infractions than he could even deal with with so many garbage cans out on the curb and sitting outside.

“It’s like swimming upstream for us,” he said, of trying to get the message across.

“The problem is people, bears are predictable. We know they’re going to come and we know they’re going to look for food,” said Kneller.

The problem is “rampant,”according to Kneller, with some people saying they’ve never heard of having to keep their garbage inside, while others pointed fingers saying, “well, everybody else is doing it.”

Under the Wildlife Act, those who do leave their garbage out can face fines of $230 if a bear gets into it. Those who are ordered to remove attractants and fail to comply can face a $575 fine.

“Going forward people in those same neighbourhoods seen leaving their garbage out will probably be fined,” said Kneller, who will be performing additional attractant audits.

“We do not want to have to put bears down,” said Kneller. “We’re trying to limit or stop the needless destruction of bears.”

To report a bear causing a disturbance, call the RAPP line (not a CO desk line) at 1-877-952-RAPP, or #7277 on Telus mobile.

READ MORE: Live trap placed for bear that damaged truck in Blind Bay

READ MORE: Bird feeders attracting bears in North Okanagan


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

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