It’s time to be bear aware again

Bears are leaving their dens in search of the nearest food source and B.C. residents are urged to be bear aware to help reduce bear-human conflicts.

  • May. 22, 2011 9:00 a.m.

Bears are leaving their dens in search of the nearest food source and B.C. residents are urged to be bear aware to help reduce bear-human conflicts.

Last year, the Ministry of Environment’s Conservation Officer Service received 23,240 reports of bear sightings (between April 1 and March 31). During that time, conservation officers attended 2,827 incidents in which bears were acting aggressively or public safety was an issue. As a result, 120 bears were relocated, while 675 bears had to be destroyed.

Though there has been a downward trend over the last 15 years in the number of problem bears killed, last year’s number was higher because of poor availability of natural foods, which meant bears were searching out other, non-natural food sources.

The most effective and natural way to prevent conflicts with bears in urban areas is to put away food attractants such as garbage, bird seed, compost and fruit. In communities where attractants are managed properly, there has been a decline in related bear-human conflict and the number of bears that have to be destroyed.

In communities around the province where there are high incidences of human-bear conflict, residents can learn more about avoiding conflict by talking to their local Bear Aware Community Co-ordinator. Bear Aware is an educational program, owned and managed by the British Columbia Conservation Foundation (BCCF). Bear Aware is designed to prevent and reduce conflicts between people and bears in communities.

Last year, the Ministry of Environment provided funding to Bear Aware in the amount of $357,000 over two fiscal years (2010-11 and 2011-12). This year, $181,400 of the ministry funding will be used to support 22 community co-ordinators in 24 communities.

All communities that receive support have also themselves made a commitment to the program, both through cash and in-kind support of the program. The 24 communities and regions benefiting from the 2011-12 Bear Aware funding are: 100 Mile House, Bella Coola, Castlegar, Coquitlam, Cumberland, Elk Valley, Fernie, Golden, Invermere-Radium, Kamloops, Kaslo, Kimberley, Mission, Nelson, Vancouver North Shore, Powell River, Prince George, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, Revelstoke, Rossland, Squamish, the Trans-Border Region (the rural areas between Nelson, Creston and Cranbrook), the Thompson-Nicola Regional District and Whistler.

The Bear Aware program provides a consistent educational package to those communities that wish to pursue “Bear Smart” status. This ensures that communities do not have to “re-invent the wheel” when implementing an education program and the content follows government standards. Bear Aware education has proven to be an effective tool to decrease conflicts and an important part of the Ministry of Environment’s Bear Smart Community program.

 

Designed by the Ministry of Environment in partnership with BCCF and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities, the Bear Smart Community program is a voluntary preventative conservation program.

 

 

Just Posted

Community paramedic to teach free CPR lessons Sunday

Local event includes ambulance and fire truck tours, fire extinguisher lessons

Local runners get personal bests at Kelowna half marathon

Brian Nemethy on the dedication of one local runner

Ken Young is running for re-election to district council

Young wants to improve housing and economic diversification in the district

Joe Jenkinson is running for Fraser Lake council

First-time candidate is a paramedic and mine supervisor

Darrell Holland is running for council in Fraser Lake

Holland has worked within the sawmill as an industrial electrician for 15 years

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Prank pizzas delivered to B.C. mayor on election night

The fake orders happened throughout Victoria mayor’s re-election campaign

MLA to become Nanaimo’s next mayor, could weaken NDP’s grasp on power

Leonard Krog’s win will trigger a byelection when he gives up his provincial seat

Horvat nets OT winner as Canucks beat Bruins 2-1

Young Vancouver star had spirited scrap earlier in contest

Team Canada gold medal winners for first time in world curling championship

Team Canada earned gold in Kelowna at the 2018 Winn Rentals World Mixed Curling Championship

B.C. passenger caught smoking weed in a car issued $230 fine

Saanich police did a field sobriety test on the driver and deemed it safe for him to drive

Payette invites critics to ‘come and spend a few days’ with her

Governor General Julie Payette made her first official to B.C. back in March

More pot stores expected in B.C. in coming ‘weeks and months’: attorney general

Attorney General David Eby and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth visited the new BC Cannabis Store in the province’s Interior

Telus launches charitable foundation to help vulnerable youth

The Telus Friendly Future Foundation complements other social initiatives by the company, including Mobility for Good

Most Read