’Tis the season for Black Bears.
As our long wet spring creeps into summer, the black bears are waking up and looking for food.
This species of bear is found from northern Mexico, across 30 American states and all Canadian provinces, except Prince Edward Island.
They range in colour from black to several shades of brown, except for two types: the Kermode bear is white and the glacier bear is pale blue.
The bears we might see along the river banks or in our back garden are very adapt at finding food and will eat anything they take a fancy to, especially at the beginning of the season, when they have just woken up, or if food is short.
There have been recorded accounts of cannibalism when habitats were reduced, which means food is scarce and there are no safe dens for the females to have their cubs.
In Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, we live side by side with the black bear.
Once they have lost there fear of humans, they become a problem, and as we stretch our fingers more into their territory, we encounter bears on a regular basis.
According to a recent article, last Spring to this March saw 120 bears rehabilitated and 675 destroyed.
Although they are not on the list of animals at risk, we humans can do a lot to keep them on their side of the fence.
Bird feeders and ripe fruit are a draw to bears, so are garbage bags and domestic pet food.
Keeping animal food and garbage locked up in a secure shed or bear-proof bins is the best way to protect your property.
Also, add moth balls to the lid of an enclosed compost tub, or a scoop of lime inside, this will put the bear off the scent.
Bears have long memories, so, above all, never feed them or encourage them as it will mean their death.
When walking the river bank take your dog, make lots of noise. Some folks carry a bell or air horn.
But it is more than likely you will never see a black bear as they are shy and solitary creatures and avoid humans if they can.
Liz Hancock is a member of the Alouette River Management Society.