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B.C.'s cold, wet spring has bears venturing into neighborhoods for food

By mid-June, black bears that live around Metro Vancouver would typically be in the woods feasting on ripe salmonberries. But this year, those berries are scarce.

“The salmonberries have not been pollinated as early as normal because of the cold, dark days. And typically when that happens, the crop is less abundant,” said Christine Miller from the North Shore Black Bear Society.

The lack of that relied-upon natural food source has more black bears venturing into neighborhoods looking for nourishment. On Wednesday, residents watched as a black bear spent hours knocking over and rummaging through garbage bins that had been left at the curb for pick up on a North Vancouver street.

“I’m not surprised to see bears at any time, but especially this year taking advantage of accessible human food,” said Miller.

And she says North Vancouver isn’t the community seeing bears on their street this June.

“In Lions Bay, they have had more bear sightings and more different bears than they have ever had before, I’m told, and Tri-Cities is having a lot of bear sightings too,” said Miller.

To prevent the animals from becoming garbage bears, she’s urging residents to keep all food scraps out of their residential garbage and instead put them in organics bins, which are typically picked up from the curb first thing in the morning.

If organics bins are only on the street for a short time and garbage bins don’t contain any food, bears are less likely to smell food and venture into neighborhoods on pick-up day.

“If we could reduce the amount of unnatural food sources for them, they would be inclined to return and eat grasses and hopefully find berries soon,” said Miller, who adds keeping bears away from garbage keeps them alive.

“If a bear finds a lot of food available in the community, they will spend more and more time in residential areas,” said Miller. “And that usually has a very bad outcome for the bear.” Top Stories

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