In 2008 Whistler saw an increasing trend of bears breaking into homes and vehicles. A total of 57 successful or attempted break-and-enters occurred in the Whistler Valley by bears. Twenty-six home entries by bears were reported in Whistler in 2008 (D.Milne, 2008). Most of these attempted or successful break-and-enters could have been prevented by some due diligence on our part. When I say, "our" I mean humans.
If we choose to live in bear country we should act responsibly and live in a sustainable manner. What I mean by a sustainable manner is that we need to make sure the garbage enclosure door is shut properly, the lid on the bear-proof dumpster is shut and latched properly and that there is no garbage or recycling left in the vehicle. The windows and doors are shut and locked in your vehicle and at your home. This way we can ensure we don't lure the innocent bear into our temptations.
Did you know that recyclable materials are bear attractants? Yes, this means the beer bottles that you store on your deck in a lovely pyramid shaped architecture for special effects. Did you also know that you must store your recyclables in a wildlife-resistant container or you can be fined as much as $500 per day according to the new Garbage Disposal and Wildlife Attractant Bylaw No. 1861, 2008. Well if you didn't know that you do now.
Please report all bear sights to 1-877-952-7277 or #7277 on your cell. If you would like to learn more about living with bears in your backyards please come and join Michelle Sims at the Whistler Public Library, Wednesday, July 15 @ 1:30 p.m. for Bear Basics; July 22, Staying Safe in Bear Country @ 1:30 p.m.; and Aug. 5 Bears and Humans @ 1:30 p.m. Bear Aware will also be at the Children's Art Festival July 11 and 12. To volunteer for Bear Aware or for more information contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-905-BEAR (2327).