We live with the bears

Rural areas are renowned for their stunning landscapes, serene environments, and abundant wildlife. However, the increasing popularity of rental properties in these picturesque settings has introduced a unique set of challenges when it comes to coexisting with nature, particularly regarding issues with wildlife, trash cans, and garbage disposal. In many cases, these challenges are exemplified by the presence of bears, who are drawn to the allure of food scraps and the contents of trash cans.

The Bear Necessities: A Wildlife Challenge

One of the most emblematic wildlife challenges is the presence of bears. These magnificent creatures often find the easy availability of food waste a tempting proposition, leading to increased human-bear interactions. While these interactions might seem exciting or charming at first, they can become problematic and even dangerous for both humans and bears.

The Attraction of Trash Cans and Garbage

The primary issue contributing to human-bear conflicts in rental areas is the presence of easily accessible trash cans and improperly secured garbage. Bears have a keen sense of smell and can detect the scent of discarded food from miles away. Trash cans left outside or poorly sealed can become magnets for these animals, and it’s not just the bears who suffer the consequences.

Challenges Faced by Bears:

Habituation: When bears become accustomed to finding human food in trash cans, they can lose their natural fear of humans. This habituation increases the risk of bear-human conflicts.

Dietary Health: Consuming human food can lead to poor nutrition and health issues for bears, affecting their overall well-being.

Euthanization: Habituated bears that pose a threat to human safety often face euthanization, a tragic outcome for these magnificent creatures.

Mitigating the Impact on Wildlife

To promote harmony between rental properties and local wildlife, there are several proactive measures that both property owners and guests can take:

Secure Trash Storage: Property owners should provide secure, bear-resistant trash containers or storage areas for guests. These containers are designed to withstand a bear’s attempts to access the contents.

Educate Guests: Inform guests about the importance of proper trash disposal and the potential consequences of failing to do so. Consider providing guidelines on how to store and secure trash.

Timely Pickup: Coordinate with local waste management services to ensure trash pickup is scheduled promptly after collection days to minimize the time trash cans are left outside.

Use Wildlife-Friendly Practices: Promote wildlife-friendly practices among guests, such as storing food securely and not leaving scraps outside that could attract wildlife.

Bear-Resistant Products: Invest in bear-resistant products, such as bird feeders and compost bins, to reduce the chances of attracting bears.

Local Regulations: Comply with local regulations regarding wildlife and trash disposal. Many areas with bear populations have specific rules and guidelines that must be followed.

By taking these precautions, rental property owners, guests, and local communities can help mitigate the impact of human-wildlife interactions in rural areas. In doing so, we can ensure that both humans and the wildlife that share these beautiful landscapes continue to thrive and coexist in harmony.