Unwanted encounters with wildlife has Wood River officials rethinking garbage day

The city of Ketchum has decided to move forward with a new type of wildlife deterrent
Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 5:46 PM MDT
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KETCHUM, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — The city of Ketchum has decided to move forward with a new type of wildlife deterrent.

KMVT’s Zach Bruhl shows us how animal-resistant trash cans will help reduce animal encounters.

In mountain towns, like in the Wood River Valley, the chance of running into wildlife can be part of the charm. Recently, encounters have become too close, and frequent, for comfort.

“In the last couple months, we’ve had three or four different encounters, particularly with bears, that creates a safety issue both for the bear and for the public,” said Ketchum Mayor, Neil Bradshaw.

Classic trashcans, with easily movable lids like these, have served as animal attractants in the city of Ketchum for years.

Following years of discussion and unfortunate bear euthanasia earlier this summer, the city of Ketchum has decided to take a more proactive step, they’ll be bringing animal-proof trashcans into the city.

“I think, by the actions Ketchum is taking now, they are saying ‘we want to make sure that our residents are safe, and we want to make sure our bears stay wild,’ and that’s ultimately what we all want,” Said Terry Thompson from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

Thompson says the implementation of animal-resistant trashcans in the area has long been a goal, but due to supply chain issues, he may need to hold off on the celebration for now.

“It’ll probably take 12-18 months to implement it, and we may have to roll it out first in areas where we are seeing more wildlife and eventually, we would like to get it throughout the whole city of Ketchum,” Said Thompson.

After the original challenge of getting trashcans across the city, the rest is pretty easy. The can stays locked, you flick the lever underneath, and it opens right up for you, close it down and it’s latched again.

Now, I’m no bear, but these things are pretty strong.

Mayor Bradshaw tells KMVT that this decision may not be the only action taken, the city is considering an ordinance that would fine residents who leave bins near the curb outside of their designated times.

“It’s still a small issue but we don’t want it to become a big issue. So, we really need to take action now,” said Bradshaw.

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