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Spring equinox comes early this year in the qathet region and BC

Bears emerging means being vigilant with garbage and compost

The 2024 spring equinox is earlier than usual, landing today, Tuesday, March 19, and kicking off the move from the winter season to the spring.

According to On the March equinox, the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere receive roughly equal amounts of sunlight.

In BC and the qathet region, many gardeners have already planted starter seeds indoors, and many will be getting their soil ready for planting vegetables such as arugula, bok choy, broccoli and kale. This time of year is also when bears emerge from their dens, some with cubs.

According to Awareness Bear BC: "A bear’s biochemistry keeps them sluggish with a smaller appetite for a while and they will drink and consume lightly." 

With spring comes the greening of grasses, sedges, dandelions, skunk cabbage and clover, all of which bears like to snack on.

"Bears have an extraordinary sense of smell, which is both a gift and a curse,” stated WildSafeBC. “Their amazing sniffing skills are essential for finding food, but can also lead them straight to wildlife attractants, mainly garbage, in urban areas and campsites."

WildSafeBC also emphasized that cubs should be learning how to find spring vegetation and other healthy foods, not how to bust into garbage bins.

City of Powell River has rolled out compost pick-up for the entire municipality starting this month. To protect humans and bears, WildSafeBC encourages folks to not store garbage or other organic waste outdoors, and for curbside collection, only put the containers out on the morning of collection day, never the night before, and also make sure recyclables have been cleaned.

Some other tips for keeping bears away from a yard and/or neighbourhood is to protect fruit trees with electric fencing or pick fruit early, avoid feeding birds when bears are most active (April to November), feed pets indoors and keep pets inside at night.

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