Issue enforcement notices to deter use of non bear-proof garbage dumpsters to reduce human-wildlife conflict
Overall effectiveness category Unknown effectiveness (limited evidence)
Number of studies: 1
Background information and definitions
Bears can be opportunistic feeders that sometimes raid sources of food left by humans. If food in garbage containers is not secured, this too can be targeted. As well as potentially causing mess, bears attracted to garbage containers may come to associate humans with sources of food and their behaviour may become problematic, through displays of aggression or boldness. Such animals may be translocated or lethally controlled. The issue could be reduced if food in garbage containers is made inaccessible to bears. Issuing enforcement notices is one way of attempting to increase compliance with legislation requiring proper use of bear-proof dumpsters.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A replicated, controlled, before-and-after study in 2008 of four alleyways in business and residential areas in Colorado, USA (Baruch-Mordo et al. 2011) found that issuing enforcement notices requiring appropriate dumpster use did not reduce garbage accessibility to black bears Ursus americanus. Changes in the proportion of dumpsters violating legislation in alleyways where enhanced enforcement occurred (after enforcement: 20% of dumpsters; before: 42%) did not significantly differ from those in alleyways without enhanced enforcements (after: 24% of dumpsters; before: 49%). Similarly, there was no significant difference in changes in legislation compliance between individual dumpsters issued with enforcement notices (after issuing: 36% of dumpsters; before: 72%) and those not (after: 17% of dumpsters; before 36%). In treatment alleys (with 37 dumpsters) there were daily patrols. Twenty-two written notices were issued on 18 dumpsters and two verbal warnings were given. Two additional alleys (30 dumpsters) had continuing lower level of enforcement action. Pre- and post-treatment surveys took place between 1 July and 25 August 2008. Dumpsters were regarded as violating legislation if they were not bear-resistant or if food waste was otherwise accessible.Study and other actions tested