The Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribes is making it easier for residents to reduce bear/human conflicts.
Missoulian reporter Vince Devlin has the story:
RONAN – Bill Foust admits it took him a little while to figure out how – with his hands full, anyway – to open the lid on his trash cans.
Bears still haven’t mastered it.
And that’s a good thing, considering Foust and his wife Barb live along the front of the Mission Mountains, where bears and humans sometimes have their difficulties coexisting.
The Fousts, who haven’t been able to bear-proof trash cans on their own, have been testing two new specially made bear-resistant containers for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.
“We’ve been really tickled,” Barb says. “We’ve already had several repeat performances from the bears, and it’s been no contest. They can’t get into them.”
Eventually, the bears will quit trying, just like you’d stop patronizing a grocery store if it kept its food padlocked to the shelves and repeatedly refused to give you the key so you could shop.
“It allows bears to be bears, and not become dependent on garbage,” says Tom McDonald, division manager for CSKT’s Fish, Wildlife, Recreation and Conservation Program.
The tribes have purchased 125 of the “fully automated, bear-resistant residential curbside refuse carts” – Kodiak Cans is the brand name – developed and manufactured by Northland Products of Prescott, Ariz. They bought them using a Tribal Wildlife Incentive Grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
They have 123 of the $300, 95-gallon containers left to give to homeowners on the Flathead Indian Reservation who have a history of bear-trash conflicts, especially those living along the front of the Mission Mountains.
The Fousts, you see, will be keeping their two.