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Experts urge people to put bird feeders away after 3 cubs orphaned

Tuesday, July 14th 2020, 6:30 am - Black Bear Rescue Manitoba says they received three more orphaned black bears into their care over the weekend.

Black Bear Rescue Manitoba is urging homeowners to put away their bird feeders after three cubs were recently left orphaned. Their mother was shot while attempting to enter a home in Pinawa, which is a situation that experts say could occur less frequently if the appropriate steps are taken.

The Province of Manitoba released a statement last month in response to an unusually high rate of black bear interaction calls.

“One of the most common causes of bear-human conflict is the presence of bird feeders. Bird seed can attract bears as well as birds, and with other food sources plentiful for birds in the summer months, people are asked to put feeders away until later in the fall,” the release said.

“This year in particular bird feeders have been a big problem in Manitoba,” said Judy Stearns of Black Bear Rescue Manitoba.

“Black bears do not need help finding food in the summer. Take down your bird feeder from April to November and put it up in the winter again when the birds truly could use some help finding food and you might save a bear's life,” she said.

“It might be kind of fun to look out the window at a bear for a while, but the trouble is, bears can then get very used to people and become less afraid. All it takes is one person to become frightened of a bear and it's hard to shoo a bear away and then the bear is in trouble.”

Black Bear Rescue Manitoba Credit: Black Bear Rescue Manitoba

Manitoba Conservation and Climate warns that once a bear is attracted to an area, it can associate that area with food and may return multiple times. This can be dangerous for both humans and bears.

“If a bear is identified as a problem animal, the province may have to take steps to trap and relocate it or possibly use lethal force,” the release said.

There are several other actions people can do to be ‘wildlife smart’.

“Securing your garbage is a really important thing to do. If you do have garbage pick up, don’t put your garbage out until shortly before pick up. Or secure it in a bear-proof container,” said Stearns.

Keeping barbecue grills clean is also an essential step to take. People should burn off any residue left on the grill and should clean out grease traps. Pet food should be kept inside and animals, like dogs, should be kept on a leash when going for walks. This will reduce the potential of them harassing or being attacked by a bear.

“Normally bears are afraid of people and loud noises. We always recommend when people see a bear on their property, to make loud noises and wave your arms and yell at them and they will run away,” said Stearns.

She wants people to be bear conscious.

“People just need to know and understand bears are generally docile, gentle animals but if they get used to a food source then they can become a little more pushy to get to the food.”

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