A spike in reports of bears gaining access to garbage, organic and recycling totes is prompting the Conservation Officer Service (COS) and District of Squamish to issue an urgent plea to residents to manage wildlife attractants around their property.
Storing totes, especially garbage and organics, inside garages or sheds is a best practice in order to prevent bears from attempting to access locked totes, damaging the totes and/or locks and ultimately being rewarded with food. The bears are highly motivated and have learned that the totes contain rewards. We can’t change the behaviour of garbage-conditioned and human-habituated bears, but we can change our own.
We urge residents to take every precaution to prevent tote access to wildlife:
- Keep odourous food items in the fridge or freezer until the morning of your collection day
- Thoroughly rinse and clean food-related recycling
- Wash totes with bleach or ammonia to reduce odour and eliminate food/waste build-up
- Ensure totes and locks are in good working condition
- Always ensure totes are locked with both locks except on collection day
- Report any damaged totes or locks immediately to GFL at 604.892.5607 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Store all totes in a garage or shed where possible
- Never place totes out the night before your collection day
- Report neighbourhood attractant concerns to Bylaw at 604.815.5067 or email@example.com
- Report bear sightings to the COS 24-hour hotline at 1.877.952.7277
In 2010, the District of Squamish was certified as a “Bear Smart Community” by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. It takes a community to be Bear Smart, please do your part.