By mid-June, black bears living around Metro Vancouver would normally be in the woods, feasting on ripe salmon berries. But this year those berries are scarce.
“The salmon berries were not pollinated as early as normal due to the cold, dark days. And when that happens, the harvest tends to be less bountiful,” said Christine Miller of the North Shore Black Bear Society.
The lack of that trusted natural food source has led to more black bears venturing into neighborhoods in search of food. On Wednesday, residents watched as a black bear spent hours knocking over and rummaging through trash cans left at the curb for pick-up on a North Vancouver street.
“I’m not surprised to see bears someday, but especially this year benefiting from accessible human nutrition,” Miller said.
And she says North Vancouver is not the community that sees bears on their streets in June.
“In Lions Bay, they’ve seen more bears and more different bears than ever before, I’m told, and Tri-Cities has seen a lot of bears, too,” Miller said.
To prevent the animals from becoming garbage bears, she urges residents to keep all food scraps out of their household garbage and instead put them in the organic waste bins, which are usually taken off the curb early in the morning.
If biological waste bins are only on the street for a short time and garbage cans contain no food, bears are less likely to smell food and move nearby on collection day.
“If we could reduce the amount of unnatural food sources for them, they would be more likely to return and eat grasses and hopefully find berries soon,” said Miller, adding that bears stay away from trash to put them in. to keep alive.
“If a bear finds a lot of food in the community, they will spend more and more time in residential areas,” Miller says. “And that usually has a very bad outcome for the bear.”