Over the next few weeks, inattentive Kamloops residents may find themselves with a warning tag on garbage cans put out before pickup day.
WildSafeBC co-ordinators are conducting the tagging program as a reminder that bear season is at its peak.
Although bear-related calls were down during the year so far in Kamloops, they’re starting to heat up.
“Since the start of September, the calls have gone up and that’s due to the time of year,” said Caitlin Dobson, Kamloops WildSafeBC co-ordinator. “It’s time for bears to start packing on the calories.”
The annual cycle called hyperphagia sees bears require up to 20,000 calories in a single day to create huge stores of fat to make it through their winter hibernation period.
“They’re in the search mode for getting easy food that’s high in calories, which is definitely human food,” said Dobson.
Kamloops residents have been doing a good job of keeping attractants away from bears by adhering to City bylaws stating garbage must be stored until 4 a.m. the day of pickup.
Locals are also keeping pets and their food indoors. And they’re picking their fruit or making good use of the Gleaning Abundance Project (GAP).
GAP offers a fruit picking service, giving the homeowner one third of the harvest and divvying the rest among the food bank and other food outreach programs.
But WildSafeBC is keeping up the pressure as the fall sets in “to keep wildlife wild.”
“Natural forage has been good with a long wet spring but the dry hot summer could have reduced the availability of natural foods,” said Frank Ritcey, WildSafeBC provincial co-ordinator.
Along with unpicked fruit, bird feeders, outdoor freezers and small livestock all become targets for the bears.