It’s time to secure all your garbage and other possible bear attractants – or face the prospect of fines, says conservation officer Scott Norris.
“We’ll be travelling around communities on the lookout for people who have left garbage or other attractants out, and where we discover that’s the case, we’ll be issuing fines,” said Norris.
“The idea is to reduce bear and human contacts but it’s also about keeping the bears healthy.”
Norris said that while bears are always big eaters, they are now preparing for the winter and have entered into a gluttonous state known as hyperphagia.
That’s when they will gorge on anything that smells even vaguely like food, said Norris.
For bears, it’s like a sprint to the finish line where that finish is hibernation and the alternative to fattening up could be starvation.
They will take in up to 14,000 calories a day and gain up to four pounds a day during this period and naturally prefer the high calorie, fatty foods they can find in garbage cans.
“If they get into the garbage they will eat plastic wrappers, Styrofoam containers, paper bags, anything with a food smell on it,” said Norris.
“If those materials get tied up in their digestive tract, it can cause some very serious issues for the bear.”
Citations for leaving bear attractants unsecured will cost homeowners $230. Homeowners will also be given an order to clean up their property. A failure to comply with that order will result in an additional $575 fine.
If you do come into contact with a bear, and if the bear appears to be threatening, overly persistent, or aggressive, call conservation officers at 1-877-952-7277.