WINNIPEG — They’re cute and furry and downright loveable — didn’t we all fall hard for Makoon, the orphaned cub near St. Malo?
But the fact remains bears are wild, unpredictable animals and Manitoba Conservation warns folks to keep a wide berth from the animals bulking up for hibernation.
The province is reminding people with homes, cottages or campsites where black bears may roam that the animals are more active at this time of the year, as they hunt down some of the same food sources people pick.
Fruit trees and berry bushes are both likely conflict zones.
People and businesses are encouraged to eliminate, seal or secure anything with a scent that may attract a bear. Garbage, bird feeders and fruit trees are the main reasons bears become habituated and eventually food-conditioned around people, which could lead to conflicts and become a safety issue for both people and bears.
Here are some other tips to reduce the chances of attracting bears to residences, cottages or campsites:
• never approach or feed a bear;
• because pets can attract bears, keep them on a leash or under control and do not let them run toward a bear;
• if possible, walk with other people;
• carry a noisemaker or bear spray repellent and know how to use it;
• feed pets indoors and keep their food dishes indoors;
• do not set up bird feeders between April and November;
• do not burn garbage;
• double bag garbage and place it in a bear-resistant container, secured building or fenced area being sure to seal it in a way that will not allow odours to escape; if a container can be pried open with a crow bar, it’s not bear proof;
• clean garbage containers regularly with bleach or ammonia to stop odours;
• take garbage with you when leaving your home or cottage, or ask a neighbour to put it out just prior to pickup;
• put garbage bags in the container just before garbage pickup, not the night before or exercise the option in some circumstances to freeze garbage in bags until pickup;
• do not compost any food items outdoors;
• clean and store barbecues after each use; and
• remove all ripened or fallen fruit in the morning and before dusk.
Taking steps to reduce conflicts with bears will also reduce conflicts with other wildlife such as coyotes, raccoons or skunks, the province advised.
Last weekend, a mother bear was struck and hit by a car on Highway 313 north of Lac du Bonnet, leaving two bear cubs orphaned as a result. Motorists stopped to direct traffic away from the panicky cubs as they wandered into the highway.
The bears got away, despites days of Conservation efforts to recapture them and move them to a more remote location in the bush.
“The bears have not been caught in the cages. There were live bear traps set out to try to trap the cubs to put them in a different area away from the community and away from people. We tried for six days to catch them. Apparently they have good survival skills because they eluded us,” a provincial spokeswoman said Friday.
» Winnipeg Free Press
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition August 18, 2012