There has been a spike in the reports of black bears accessing unsecured commercial and residential food waste in Maple Ridge.
The Conservation Officer Service noted the problem area is between 232 Street and 224 Street, south of 128 Avenue.
Conservation officer Alicia Buchanan said officers have patrolled the area and found significant issues with unsecure attractants, including: commercial and residential garbage and green waste bins left out before scheduled waste pick-up, and commercial food waste bins left unsecure with large amounts of food waste accessible to bears and other dangerous wildlife like cougars, wolves, and coyotes.
One Dangerous Wildlife Protection Order has already been issued to a property owner in the area warning them to remove the attractant or face a $575 fine, in addition to one other warning notice for unsecured attractants in the last several days, explained Buchanan.
Buchanan noted conservation officers will continue targeted enforcement efforts in order to help ensure public safety.
She said all businesses and residents need to familiarize themselves with bylaws and regulations around ensuring attractants are properly secured.
“Failing to do so could result in fines or court action,” said Buchanan.
This time of the year people should especially ensure attractants like garbage, pet food, and bird seed are secured because, said Buchanan, bears look to consume large amounts of calories before winter.
“In the Lower Mainland, bears may not fully hibernate and can still be active,” explained Buchanan. “Securing garbage is the best way to help keep people, and bears, safe.”
She advised for businesses, storing garbage within a secure, lockable and commercial-sized waste bin is the best solution – and at home, garbage or compost should be secured in bins inside a durable shed, garage or other enclosed structure, if possible>
Conservation Officers will continue to work collaboratively with area officials and organizations – including Maple Ridge WildSafeBC BC staff – to increase awareness and education surrounding the importance of attractant management. They will also be reaching out to Maple Ridge Bylaw for assistance with bylaw enforcement in the area.
For more information on how to secure attractants, please go to wildsafebc.com.
To report a wildlife conflict, call the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) hotline at 1-877-952-7277.
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