Price No Obstacle for New Bear-Resistant Trash Cans
Tuesday, May 3, 2022
Bears have a hard time resisting the temptation of food available in human trash, and a new program aims to reduce a leading cause of human/bear conflict in Teton County by providing bear-resistant trash cans to residents regardless of their ability to pay.
Drew Gath, program manager for Jackson Hole Bear Solutions, said when bears know they can eat for free, it is dangerous for residents, and frequently deadly for bears. He suggested switching out your trash can is a small price to pay for living next to wild landscapes.
"All of the people that come out to Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks, they're looking for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see grizzly bears, black bears and other wildlife," Gath observed. "It's really important that we keep these resources safe."
Thanks to a grant from an anonymous donor, Gath's group was able to purchase the first round of cans approved by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee. The cans have passed tests with actual grizzlies on a wilderness preserve in Montana. Sign up to get your new trash can at jhbearsolutions.org.
Teton County's recently updated wildlife-feeding regulations now prohibit residents from allowing wildlife to access trash and other attractants on their property.
Gath pointed out the program can also help residents install electric fences to keep bears and other hungry wildlife away from chicken coops, compost piles and beehives.
"If a grizzly bear comes in your backyard and is attracted by a beehive, for example," Gath outlined. "If they get zapped by a properly functioning electric fence, it's really going to keep them from coming back, and keeping that neighborhood safe."
Jackson Hole Bear Solutions is looking for volunteers to help distribute cans, install electric fencing and other projects designed to make it easier for communities to coexist with wildlife. Gath added there is help available for residents to harvest fruit fallen from trees, also a major attractant.
"Another way people can get involved is by gleaning fruit off decorative crab apple and other trees in the valley. There is a local cidery that's started, called Farmstead Wyoming, and they actually glean these fruit and turn it into hard cider."
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