The Conservation Officer Service is sharing tips on keeping wildlife off your property as the weather warms up.

Steve Petrovcic is the Conservation Officer for the North Island Zone.

Petrovcic said bears are coming out of hibernation and will be extremely hungry and opportunistic.

He said you can do your part by keeping attractants, and in particular garbage, in check.

“It’s that time of the year again when people need to put their bird feeders away, the attractant management considerations are extremely high, right now,” he said. “Garbage only goes out the morning of garbage day, not the night before and conservation officers will once again this year at some point be involved with neighbourhood audits, ensuring people are doing their part to keep both people and bears safe.”

He said garbage at this time of year is the “No. 1 culprit” in attracting bears, adding that it is an offense to have insecure attractants that will bring dangerous animals into a neighbourhood.

Bears will also be lured by the smell of barbecues, Petrovcic stressed. “It’s important that all food residue gets burned off that barbecue. Grease catchers are cleaned so that bears are not attracted to a grease catcher on a barbecue.”

He added, “Food recycling, any type of recycling that may have food residue into it… pasta, dairy containers… it’s just imperative that anything that’s going to throw off an odour that could attract that bear out of the greenspace and into your yard is cleaned.”

There is other wildlife to watch out for, according to Petrovcic.

He said in the springtime, pregnant roam into residential areas to find a safe place to have their fawns, which in turn is attracting urban cougars into neighbourhoods.