Tips To Manage Waste To Minimize Bear Encounters

One of Dr. Kathleen Ramsey’s bear cubs enjoying delicious fruit donated from Los Alamos residents. Courtesy/LAC


Bears have been making their way into residential areas in Los Alamos because of lack of food in the wild and ease of getting it out of trash roll carts.

Here are some safe practices for managing waste to minimize encounters with bears:

  • Avoid luring bears on to your property by maintaining any fallen fruit; bring it here to the ECO Station and help donate to Dr. Kathleen Ramsay’s bear cubs at her rehab center.
  • Stock up for the winter and preserve fruit by canning or drying fruit.
  • Strong and smelly odors will attract bears, so try to reduce odors by keeping smelly items out of the trash until trash pickup day. Try double bagging your trash or using special trash bags that eliminate odors.
  • Clean your trash roll carts frequently.
  • Keep your trash in a safe and secure place, like inside a locked garage.
  • County code requires trash to be set out for collection no earlier than 5 p.m. the day prior to collection, but to avoid luring bears to your property, try to set out trash roll carts the morning of trash collections. Roll carts should be placed out before 8 a.m. for collection.
  • Instead of throwing your food away, compost it!

**Upon request, the ECO Station can provide residents with hardware to secure roll cart lids. Call 505.662.8163 for more information or to request yours. **

These are just a few safety tips to help minimize encounters with bears in residential areas. Notify the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish immediately if you encounter a bear, or have any questions or concerns.  They can be reached at 505.328.2572, or call dispatch at 505.827.9376.

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