FORT NELSON, B.C. – Due to an increase in bear activity in Fort Nelson, WildSafeBC Northern Rockies is asking residents to store their garbage indoors prior to pickup day.
Kim Eglimski, the WildSafe BC community coordinator for Fort Nelson, says that people can help the bear problem by keeping their garbage cans secure.
She recommends storing garbage in a garage, shed or indoors until pickup days.
Additionally, harvest fruit from trees and the ground as quickly as possible, as well as remove bird feeders, and feed pets indoors.
“The bears are getting ready for that hyperphagia stage where all they wanna do is eat and eat,” Eglimski said.
“Those are the things that are readily available for them in the community. There’s no shortage of garbage … The bears are coming into town; instead of coming through town and moving on, they’re getting a smorgasbord.”
She urges citizens to report bear sightings to the Conservation Officer Services number at 1-877-952-7277.
“This allows the bear to be monitored and tracked. This allows the conservation officer service to know that the bear is actually around or that it’s still around,” she said.
“It lets me know that maybe there are areas within the community that I need to be doing better on the education piece that allows us to do some door-to-door education.”
If a bear encounter occurs, Eglimski encourages citizens to remain calm.
“If people do run into a bear, the best thing is to stay calm. Don’t run. We strongly recommend carrying bear spray. We ask you to back away, slowly,” she said.
According to Eglimski, most bear encounters end with the bear running away — “they’re actually afraid of people.”
She recommends talking to the bear.
“Hi, bear. Hello, bear. I’m not here to hurt you, bear.”
“Make sure there’s an escape route for the bear to kind of catch him in a corner or something,” Eglimski said.
Another resource she shared is through WildSafeBC, Wildlife Alert Reporting Program or W.A.R.P.
This tool allows citizens across B.C. to see the wildlife reported in their area. It can be narrowed down by city, species, dates and other filters.
The WildSafeBC website has loads of information on the types of animals in B.C. and what to do when they are encountered.