With bears active in many neighborhoods across the Central Okanagan, the Regional Waste Reduction Office reminds residents to reduce wildlife conflicts by managing your attractants, including your household garbage.

Waste Reduction facilitator Rae Stewart says bears have a keen sense of smell and can easily become food conditioned. “Don’t attract bears or any other wildlife to your garbage unnecessarily. If they find your waste, they can make a real mess, and pose a risk to you, your family, and themselves.” Stewart says securing attractants is the single best way to help keep yourself and bears safe. That can even include keeping garbage carts in a locked shed or garage until garbage day.

Stewart adds for the third year in a row, the Regional District is partnering with WildSafeBC to help provide bear awareness across the entire Central Okanagan. “The WildSafeBC Central Okanagan program helps reduce wildlife conflicts by providing education across the region for residents, monitoring carts set out the night before pick-up, and monitoring bear and wildlife activity in general.”

WildSafeBC tips to keep wildlife wild and communities safe:

  • Only put garbage out for collection on the morning of pickup, never the night before.
  • Encourage your neighbours to do the same, offer to help if they are not able to put garbage out at appropriate times.
  • Secure your garbage on non-collection days; store it securely in your garage, or garden shed, chain it to a secure structure.
  • Consider freezing your kitchen scraps until the morning of collection day.
  • Keep your barbeque clean and covered.
  • Pick ripe or fallen fruit immediately; if composting, or putting in yard waste cart, ensure the units are secured from wildlife access.
  • Use bird baths and houses to attract birds, rather than bird feeders.
  • Do not leave pet food outdoors.

For sightings of bears, cougars or coyotes in the community or to report wildlife human conflicts please contact the BC Conservation Officer Service Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line at 1.877.952.7277.

For more information on deterring bears from your garbage, visit wildsafebc.com or reach out to the WildsafeBC Coordinator Central Okanagan at centralok@wildsafe.com.

For additional inquiries, visit rdco.com/recycle, email recycle@rdco.com or call the Regional Waste Reduction Office at 250.469.6250.