Early bear sightings in Wood River Valley

A black bear feeds from a bird feeder (Credit: rokopix/Shutterstock.com)

KETCHUM, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Since late April, Idaho Fish and Game has received four reports from residents south of Ketchum of bears getting into residential garbage cans left outside, as well as bird feeders.

Last year, Fish and Game says they didn't receive their first reports of bears getting into neighborhood trashcans until mid-July.

“Our low snowpack, and very dry spring conditions seems to have brought bears into neighborhoods much earlier than we would typically see,” according to senior conservation office Brandyn Hurd, “these bears, using their incredible sense of smell, are attracted to area neighborhoods because some residents are leaving their garbage cans unsecured, where they are easy targets for bears looking to get a quick meal.”

Fish and Game asks residents to keep their garbage cans in a secure location until the morning of pick-up, such as a garage or secure, enclosed space.Garbage cans should not be left on the curbside the night before trash pick.

Unsecured residential and business garbage containers are a major cause of bears becoming food habituated in the Wood River Valley, Fish and Game said.

A bear that has developed a repeated habit of searching out and acquiring food from human sources is a threat to public safety, and will be trapped or darted with an anesthetizing drug, and then euthanized.

Relocation of a food habituated bear is not an option. Bears often return where they have found food. Moving a food habituated bear might also just transfer the problem to another community or campground in the backcountry.

For more information about how to manage household or business garbage to protect bears please contact the Magic Valley Regional Office at 208-324-4359.

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