Thousands of campers will head to the mountains this holiday weekend, and many may be unaware that they are entering bear country. To keep bears in the wild and the public safe, the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) reminds visitors to follow these simple “Bear Aware” tips:
Use bear-proof garbage cans whenever possible or store your garbage Young bear walking in the water in a secure location with your food.
Store food (including pet food) and toiletries in bear-proof containers or in an airtight container in the trunk of your vehicle.
Clean dishes and store food and garbage immediately after meals.
Clean the barbecue grill after each use.
Never keep food or toiletries in your tent.
Don’t sleep in clothes you wore while cooking.
Avoid camping in areas where there is evidence of black bears (ie. bear tracks, scat or clawed trees).
With an estimated 30,000 bears inCalifornia, it is not surprising that from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the peak of the camping season,DFGis inundated with calls about bears rummaging through trash bins and raiding campsites. “These bears are often labeled ‘nuisance’ bears, but in reality, the bears are just doing what comes naturally to them, foraging for food,” said Marc Kenyon, DFG’s Bear Program Manager. “People are the root of the problem and it’s their behavior that we need to change. By taking just a few precautions to secure food and trash, visitors to bear country can help protect their families from injury and can save the lives of bears. Bears that become habituated to humans or conditioned to eating our food and trash often have to be killed.”
For more information, visit www.keepmewild.com.