B. E. A. R. S.

N O R T H   V A N C O U V E R

Sharing Wilderness with Black Bears on the North Shore

     Bear sightings and problems call:
DNV Parks Bear Line: 990-BEAR (2327) 
B.E.A.R.S: 924-9281

Every year on the North shore 'nuisance' bears have to be killed unnecessarily due to careless human behaviour. Let's all make ourselves and North Shore bears safe.

What is a nuisance bear? A bear is considered a nuisance when it becomes used to finding human food, garbage and other powerful bear attractants, in areas where people live or recreate. Carelessly stored food, garbage, also barbecue grease and bird feeders can all attract bears and keep them coming back. The outcome is often a dead bear and even orphaned cubs. This problem can easily be solved by eliminating the source of the attraction. Becoming BEAR SAFE is as easy as following the simple steps outlined in this safety guide. Encounters with aggressive bears are extremely rare. Attacks are even rarer. Many thousands of people live, work and recreate in North Shore bear country and many experience the excitement of seeing bears. Tips on this safety guide sheet will help prevent human/bear conflicts. Enjoy learning about bears and how to live with them safely.

B.E.A.R.S. volunteers have joined with District of North Vancouver [DNV Parks], RCMP, Ministry of Environment [Conservation Officer Service & BCParks], other bear advocates to form the BEAR NETWORK. Together they have declared 2001, Year of the Bear.

Information courtesy of the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA)
Produced by the District of North Vancouver [Parks Dept]  for B.E.A.R.S. & the BEAR NETWORK
 Thanks to Margit Calvin, B.E.A.R.S. and'Bruce Cox, Enforcement, Ministry of Environment
In memoriam, Ron Perkins, animal lover

Bear encounters   There is no foolproof way of dealing with a bear encounter (each bear and encounter is different) but the following responses have worked in the past:
If you see a bear in the distance ,
* Respect the bear's need for space - try to make a wide detour or leave the area.
It you suddenly encounter a bear at close range
 * Remain calm. Do not run. Identify yourself as human by talking in low tones, arms out in front. Give the bear time to catch your scent. Don't crowd the bear -- leave it a clear escape.
* Mountain bikers seem noisy to the biker, but in fact are quiet and can startle a bear. Don't yell excitedly and race away. Instead, get off your bike calmly, gather your group together to make yourselves look larger and speak calmly, while beginning to move away. When you know that the bear knows you are human and not prey, turn and ride away.
Bear Facts - Protect yourself, your family, belongings ,and bears by following. these steps.

At Your home
Garbage disposal/storage
Don't leave food, scraps, garbage or pet food out for bears.
* Store garbage securely. If you don't have a secure shed/garage, try triple bagging and putting into a shed without the can until morning of garbage day.
* Put garbage out for pickup, not earlier than 6:00 AM, on the morning of garbage pickup.
* Do whatever is necessary to avoid odours. During summer, double/triple bag garbage and sanitize your garbage can(s) .
* Be partif:ularly aware of odourous food scraps such as fish, meat bones, barbecue, egg shells, fruit peel, dairy ... consider storing them, double/triple bagged in the freezer until garbage day.

* Be alert when barbecuing. If bears are nearby, they may be attracted by the smell.
* Burn off grease drippings to get rid of all grease. Store cleaned & covered in shed or out of  wind. 
* Avoid the use of outdoor refrigerators.

* It is better to keep pets inside at night if possible.
* Do not leave pet food outside or feed your pets outside during bear season. If pets must eat outside,  immediately remove any uneaten food.

Helpful hints for composts, birdfeeders and fruit trees (which are powerful bear attractants)
* Compost green material only during bear season. *Use of lime reduces odours.*
* Don't put fish, meat, fruit, egg shells, dairy into your compost.
* Make sure that bird feeders, bird seed, suet and hummingbird mixes are not accessible to a bear. * Try to pick fruit from trees on your property regularly. Rotting fruit left on the ground is a
   powerful bear attractant. Prune tree back so it is manageable and can be picked easily.

Seeing and avoiding bears - If you spend much time in North Shore forests the chances of seeing a black bear are quite good. Positive bear sighting experiences are far more common than negative ones. Although extremely rare, aggressive meetings between people and bears sometimes occur .
To avoid bear encounters:
* Walk/hike/mountain bike in a group during daylight hours.
* If a bear hears you coming, it will usually avoid you. Talk calmly as you hike/cycle--especially in dense brush where visibility is limited, near running water or when the wind is in your face.
* Be bear aware. Learn about and watch for bear signs. Overturned rocks or broken-up, rotten logs can be a sign that a bear has been foraging for grubs or insects. Claw marks on trees, tracks on the dirt or snow, berries on the ground, plant root diggings or fur on the bark of trees are all signs that a bear has been in the area. Berry bushes grow in open areas and at the sunny edge of the forest
* Stay away from abundant food sources and dead animals-bears may be foraging in the area or protecting a carcass. Creek and river corridors are natural bear habitat
* Keep dogs under control. If not on leash, upon sighting a bear leash dog immediately.
* Avoid wearing scented cosmetics and hair products. Even toothpaste should be cached with food.
* Many thousands of people live, work and recreate in North Shore bear country, and many experience the excitement of seeing bears. These tips will prevent bear-human .conflicts, but it is always good to be prepared for an encounter, If you see a bear in the distance: Respect the bear's need for space-make a wide detour or leave the area. PLAY IT SAFE...
* Bears may act defensively if startled, protecting cubs or a food cache. lf you suddenly encounter a bear at close range: Remain calm. Do not run. Identify yourself as human by talking in low tones, with arns outstretched. Move upwind so that the bear can catch your scent. Don't crowd the bear.
Leave it a clear escape route and bear should exit. LIVE SAFELY WITH NORTH SHORE BEARS