With all the hot weather we’ve been having in Kimberley and Cranbrook, it may be easy to forget that wildlife are still active! Bears, deer, cougars, moose, coyotes and other animals are still observed on our trails and in our cities in the summer months. It’s important for us as residents to keep household attractants secure from access by wild animals, even in the numbing heat. Here are a few things you can do to help keep wildlife wild and communities safe this summer:
Keep barbeque’s clean and odor free, and all food items stored securely indoors. Eating alfresco is one of summer’s great pleasures, but smelly barbeques and food left outside are an invitation to your yard or patio for wild animals. When you’re done enjoying your meal, clean outdoor cooking appliances and bring all dishware and food items, even condiments, indoors.
De-commission your outdoor fridges and freezers. Tempting though it may be to keep a fridge of cold beverages in the carport, outdoor fridges and freezers are a known attractant for bears and other wildlife. Bears are incredibly strong animals, and have been known to break into freezers even when locked: one such incident occurred in Kimberley last year.
Store all empty bottles and cans as you would food waste, securely indoors. Though there is arguably no food reward for an animal accessing empty recycling, the sweet and fermented smell of those last dregs of soda or beer is enticing to animals. Prevent your empties from becoming a wildlife attractant: store your recycling indoors.
When you are camping or picnicking, manage food attractants as diligently as you would at home. You keep food and food waste secure at home, right? Please relax on your vacation, but don’t relax your standards when recreating in wildlife country. Leave no trace at camping and picnicking sites: pack all food waste out with you. If you’re overnighting, store all food and scented items (including coolers, recycling and waste) in a bear hang, a bear-resistant locker, or in a locked vehicle.
Prevent and prepare for wildlife encounters on the trails. Remember to travel in groups, make noise and carry bear spray when you’re out in wildlife country.
For more on recreating with wildlife in mind, visit wildsafebc.com/play/. Thanks again for helping keep wildlife wild and our communities safe this summer. As always, report any wildlife activity of concern to the Conservation Officer Service 24-hour reporting line: 1.877.952.7277.
WildSafeBC would like to acknowledge the support of Columbia Basin Trust, the BC Ministry of Environment, the City of Kimberley and the City of Cranbrook.