Late night crew tagging trash cans in Chilliwack

WildSafeBC teaching public to keep garbage secure through nighttime audits

If you’re putting your garbage out at bedtime, you could be inviting bears for a midnight snack.

Bears require 20,000 calories a day as they prepare for the winter months, packing on the weight for when their food supply is diminished. And a garbage can full of smelly leftovers and scraps is an easy meal.

This summer, representatives from WildSafeBC will be prowling about at night looking for garbage cans set out too early. Cans set out too early will receive a yellow sticker as a reminder that they’re creating an animal attractant.

And it’s not just bears that get accustomed to an easy, residential meal. When garbage cans are not kept clean, they can attract rodents. In turn, those rodents attract their own predators, such as coyotes and cougars.

Keeping garbage cans secure throughout the week, and setting them out as close to pickup time as possible can lower the risk of urban-wildlife interactions.

Although in Chilliwack the bylaw allows residents to place garbage out at 6 p.m. the night prior, WildSafeBC hopes that those living in urban-wildland interface areas will go the extra mile to keep their communities safe.

Residents are encouraged to store waste in a garage, shed or bear-resistant enclosure.

WildSafeBC is supported by the Fraser Valley Regional District and the BC Ministry of Environment, and also operates an online mapping tool for animal encounters.

Questions about attractant management should be directed to the community coordinator at 604-702-5005 or Immediate wildlife concerns should be reported to RAPP at 1-877-952-7277.