Black bears, this time of year should be entering their dens for a long winter snooze. By consuming extraordinary amounts of calories through the fall they have gained sufficient reserves to sustain themselves through the cold months ahead. Fat tissue will break down to supply water and up to 4000 calories a day while muscle tissue will break down to supply protein. During this time black bears will also recycle their body wastes and kidney function drops to almost nil, a mystery that scientists are studying in hopes of assisting people with kidney failure (NOVA Online, 2000).
Unfortunately, in some urban areas where bears have come into contact with readily available non-natural food sources they may be inclined to stay awake through the winter rather than follow nature’s course and listen to the “nesting” instinct. The other outcome may be a bear that has decided urban life is more appealing than the woods and may find under your patio or front stairs a suitable den location.
Don’t under-estimate a bear’s keen ability to locate food either; their sense of smell is seven times stronger than a bloodhound’s (American Black Bear Association). Ensure your garbage & cleaned recycling is secured in a bear-proof enclosure year round. Diligent attractant management is effective in any season and will help reduce bear-human conflicts in the future.
To report any wildlife-human interactions where public safety may be at risk, call the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-RAPP (7277)
Information provided by Christina Brack, Director of Communications Bear Smart BC Society and Crystal McMillan, Executive Director Bear Smart BC Society
For more “Bear Smart” information, contact: Dawn Boyce 250-723-2187 Christina Brack 250-723-9200 or Crystal McMillan at 250-951-9453