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It’s bear season in Central Okanagan, and residents are being reminded to secure their attractants, including household garbage, to reduce conflicts with wildlife. The Regional District of Central Okanagan is partnering with WildSafeBC for the third year in a row to provide bear awareness across the region. The program aims to educate residents on ways to keep wildlife wild and communities safe. Tips include only placing garbage out on the morning of pickup, storing it securely on non-collection days, and keeping barbeques clean and covered. Residents are also encouraged to pick ripe or fallen fruit immediately and avoid feeding birds when bears are most active.

WildSafeBC offers tips to help reduce wildlife conflicts, including securing garbage on non-collection days, storing it in a garage or garden shed, and cleaning and covering barbeques. Residents are also advised to pick ripe or fallen fruit immediately, ensure composters are well managed, and use bird baths and houses to attract birds rather than bird feeders. It is important to avoid feeding birds when bears are most active and to keep pet food indoors. For sightings of bears, cougars, or coyotes in the community, residents are asked to contact the BC Conservation Officer Service Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line at 1-877-952-7277.

Cynthia Coates, RDCO Solid Waste Services Supervisor, emphasizes the importance of not attracting bears or any wildlife to garbage, as they can pose a danger to residents if they become food-conditioned. The WildSafeBC program helps monitor bear and wildlife activity in the region and provides education to reduce conflicts. Residents are encouraged to take steps to keep attractants secure and to help their neighbors do the same. Keeping garbage secure on non-collection days, cleaning and covering barbeques, and picking up ripe or fallen fruit immediately are some of the ways to keep wildlife wild and communities safe.

Residents are reminded to report sightings of bears, cougars, and coyotes in the community to the BC Conservation Officer Service RAPP line. By following the tips provided by WildSafeBC and taking steps to secure attractants like garbage and food sources, residents can help reduce conflicts with wildlife. It is essential to be proactive in keeping wildlife wild and ensuring the safety of both animals and residents in the Central Okanagan region. Taking simple measures, such as freezing kitchen scraps until collection day and storing bird feeders in a way that is inaccessible to bears and other wildlife, can go a long way in preventing unnecessary dangers.

By working together to keep attractants secure and following the guidelines provided by WildSafeBC, residents can help reduce conflicts with wildlife during bear season in Central Okanagan. The partnership between the Regional District and WildSafeBC aims to raise awareness and provide education on ways to mitigate encounters with bears and other wildlife. Ensuring that garbage is only placed out on the morning of pickup, keeping pet food indoors, and picking up fallen fruit immediately are some of the key steps residents can take to keep wildlife wild and communities safe. Reporting sightings of bears or other wildlife to the BC Conservation Officer Service RAPP line is essential in ensuring the safety of both animals and residents.

In conclusion, the importance of securing attractants and following guidelines provided by WildSafeBC cannot be overstated during bear season in Central Okanagan. By taking proactive measures, such as storing garbage securely on non-collection days and keeping barbeques clean and covered, residents can help reduce conflicts with wildlife. It is crucial to report sightings of bears, cougars, and coyotes to the appropriate authorities to ensure the safety of both animals and residents. Working together to keep wildlife wild and communities safe is essential in preserving the natural environment of the Central Okanagan region.

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