Remote B.C. reserve at leading edge of saving bears with animal-resistant bins
Bears around Binche can't crack bear-resistant trash cans
Bears are a common sight on the remote, forested road to Binche, 1,000 kilometres north of Vancouver on Stuart Lake.
And beside every home on the reserve, there's a special, bear-resistant garbage can.
"They do help big time, because it's hard for humans to get into them, much less bears," said interim band Chief Josh Hallman about the black garbage bins with tough latches and robust lids.
Every year in B.C., hundreds of bears are killed, often after getting into garbage. Cities and towns are starting to experiment to see if the use of bear-resistant bins for household trash will save bears' lives.
Experiment gets results
Hallman estimates about 200 bear-resistant cans have been in use for several years in Binche, the neighbourhing Tache reserve, and on reserve lease land where cottagers live.
"I guess it was an experiment, but somebody was thinking on the right line I do believe," said Hallman. "We haven't had any bears or any dogs get into any of our cans in this village."
Bigger communities may have something to learn from the Binche experience.
About 180 kilometres southeast of Binche, Prince George has latched on the idea. In April, the city rolled out 300 bear-resistant garbage cans to field test in one part of Prince George. The city's special bins feature a sturdy latch and the face of a ferocious bear, but they're also very expensive.
City officials said they're still monitoring how well the garbage cans work and will have more data in the autumn.