The first day of fall is still a little over a week away, but bears have already been spotted coming into Rossland to scavenge as their natural food sources grow scarce.
After nine bears were destroyed last year, Rossland city council increased the fines for leaving out wildlife attractants and decided Rosslanders needed to start using bins with secure lids when they put out their garbage for pickup. So far no bears have been destroyed this year, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still coming into town.
“There’ve been three different traps put out that never resulted in anything, and there’s been a bunch of bear encounters. They’ve been seen during the day, in people’s yards, thing like that,” says Desiree Profili, Rossland and Trail community coordinator for WildSafeBC. “It was busy early in the spring, and then quiet over the summer, and then it has gotten busy again in the last week or so.”
It’s too early to tell if the diminished activity is as a direct result of the city’s bylaw amendments. So far the city has sent out warnings to those violating the bylaw, but hasn’t fined anyone.
“We have a public notification campaign going out that we have a little notice that we’re sticking out to everybody just to remind them that the bylaw is in place and that if they were to continue the current practice that they have, that there would be a possible issue of fines in the future,” says Bryan Teasdale, CAO and CO of Rossland.
Teasdale also reminds Rossland residents that garbage cans should have secure lids, meaning that if the can is tipped over, the lid will remain in place.
Profili emphasizes that fruit trees are currently the biggest issue when it comes to attractants. Fruit tree owners are invited to bring their fruit to Larry Doell’s house at the end of Esling Dr. on Saturday, noon to 5 p.m., and Sunday, starting at 10 a.m., to have it pressed into juice. A $10 donation is requested to reward the hard working press operator. There will also be a community fruit picking day on Saturday, starting from l’école des Sept-sommets at 10 a.m. Volunteers can help pick fruit from the public trees, and the fruit will then be pressed at Doell’s. Call or email Mayor Kathy Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-521-1500 with your questions or to schedule time on the press.
Profili also warns to wait until the snow flies before putting bird feeders in your yard.
Trail users, whether on foot or on bike, should be sure to make lots of noise to avoid a surprise encounter. Asked what people should do if they do run into a bear, Profili said, “Make lots of noise, act big, back away slowly, don’t turn around and run, because then they think you’re either playing or they want to chase you. Keep your dogs on a leash, and just back away slowly and move to a safe area. Usually bears will wander off after that, especially if you’ve come on them and surprised them out in the wild.”
To report an aggressive bear call the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277. Bear sightings can be reported using WildSafeBC’s Wildlife Alert Reporting Program (WARP) at wildsafebc.com/warp.