As Whistler bears begin to emerge out of hibernation, it is important to remind everyone to pick up their trash, and safely secure and lock their garbage. Anything that’s likely to bring a hungry bear to our neighbourhoods needs to be out of sight and scent.

Garbage accounts for 60% of calls reported to the Conservation Office Service (COS) regarding bears. The problem is that habituated bears allow humans to get too close. The best way to avoid conflict is to keep bears from becoming food-conditioned and from becoming human habituated.

“When bears quit moving through the community and start using the community as a foraging area for human-provided foods then conflicts develop. Bears that start using human-provided foods (anthropogenic foods in the words of the biologists) can become food-conditioned. Once a bear starts equating humans with foods, they can lose their natural wariness of humans and become what is called human-habituated (often simply referred to as being habituated). An habituated bear tolerates humans in much closer proximity than what is safe for both bears and humans. This increases the potential for a dangerous interaction between the bears and us.”

The Whistler Wildlife Protective Group hopes to educate Whistler tourists and newcomers on how our choices impact our local wildlife and their habitat.

This Wednesday, April 18th from 8am to 4pm, they invite everyone to take part in their Whistler spring clean up. The goal is to remove trash and clean as many areas and neighbourhoods as possible in order to keep the bears alive and wild.

For more info, visit: https://facebook.com/groups/WhistlerWildlifeProtectionGroup/