Keeping the wildlife wild

Marisca wants to teach her children to respect the environment

Lately we’ve been having a bear waltz through our yard. We don’t have a reason for him to stay. Our garbage is secure, our bird feeders are stored away for the summer and fall months and we clean up around the house. But we do have some sort of wildberry bush on the permimeter of our property and we’ve noticed him graze on a few berries and continue on his way.

I’ve nicknamed him our neighbourhood bear. I never really loved that we have a bear around, it makes me nervous with two little kids and a small dog but we share the territory with wildlife. When we are outside we are quite noisy but it just means I have to watch my children when they are playing in the backyard by themselves right now. I know, what a concept, watching your own children.

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However, I heard a rumour from a neighbour that our bear had been shot. I don’t know if it is true and I don’t know if it was by authorities or a homeowner with a gun but I haven’t seen it in a couple of weeks. Whether or not this bear moved on or was killed, it is a story that is too familiar around this time of the year and isn’t totally out of the norm, unfortunately.

I’ve also heard a rumour that there are some people around that feed the deer, and subsequently feed the bears. I don’t know if that part is true either but I do know that a fed bear is a dead bear.

No one wants to shoot a bear. Conservation officers do not get into the field because they like killing animals. They take the job to help conserve the wildlife. Hence the name. It is unfortunate that they can sometimes get a bad reputation because of one aspect of their job.

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I know officers will work with wildlife shelters when they can. But not all situations allow for it. I’ve spoken with many conservation officers over the years about bear safety. They are all frustrated when people are careless.

There is no need to have bird feeders out right now. Wait until the winter when the birds need some seed (and you need a hobby to keep away the cabin fever and seasonal blues.)

There is also no excuse for not securing your garbage. However, some bears can even be attracted to a dirty barbecue, so now is a good time to clean it.

Of course, Canadians don’t ever put away their barbecues, we’ll grill in minus-20 degree weather but it is a good idea to wipe away the grease before the scent attracts a bear into your yard.

One conservation officer even mentioned finding a bear in town once that was feeding on someone’s chicken food. All pet food should be put away.

We live in a beautiful environment teeming with all different kinds of animals. It is one of the reasons my husband and I have chosen to raise our children here. Let’s teach our children how to respect wildlife and care for the environment. It starts by setting a good example.


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