A message from the City of Merritt
Reminder to Residents to be Bear Aware
Merritt BC October 3, 2016 – Bear sightings have increased in the City of Merritt over the last several weeks, specifically in the Collettville area.
Residents are reminded to adjust their habits and reduce the temptation for wildlife to access non-natural food sources such as garbage. Remember that bears have a sense of smell far greater than that of dogs and it is this sense of smell that helps them locate food at great distances.
Residents should follow these tips taken from WildSafe BC at www.wildsafebc.com/black-bear.
• Garbage accounts for 55% of calls regarding bears. Store garbage in a secure building until collection day or consider purchasing a bear-resistant household container and ensure bins are tightly closed. Do not leave garbage in the open.
• Pick fruit from trees and bushes and allow it to ripen indoors. Pick it daily as it ripens and do not allow a windfall to accumulate on the ground.
• Empty birdfeeders and use them only in the winter when bears are hibernating and natural bird food is limited. If using feeders during bear season, take the feeders in at night, keep the ground underneath the feeders clean and free of bird seed and use just a small amount of feed.
• When composting, layer the greens, such as kitchen scraps and fresh grass clippings with no more than 10 cm of browns, such as dried leaves, grasses, shredded newspaper and cardboard. Do not add fish, meat, fat, oils, un-rinsed eggshells or any cooked food, cereals or grains.
• Feed pets indoors and don’t leave pet food outdoors.
• Clean barbeques after use by burning off the grill entirely and remove and clean the grease trap after every use.
Residents observing bears or other dangerous wildlife in an urban area should report the incident to the Ministry of Environment’s Conservation Officer Service, 24-hour toll-free line at 1-877-952-7277. Reportable incidents include:
• Bears or other wildlife accessing garbage or other human supplied food sources.
• Instances where wildlife cannot be easily scared off.
• Dangerous wildlife in a public location like a city park or school during daylight hours.
• A cougar or wolf sighting in an urban area.