The first snows have come and gone and where are the bears? The light snow we had last week showed, in bear tracks, just how many bears are still at large in our community. The bear population around Revelstoke is often active right into December so we can still expect hungry bears to be seeking a final feast or two before denning up for the season.
As of mid November, bears continue to roam several districts of the city. Tracks were seen in Arrow Heights and the downtown area, while bears were sighted in the Big Eddy and Columbia Park. Many residents do not realize that bears are still active in our community during early winter and become complacent in managing bear attractants once the snow starts to fly.
Bears require a huge amount of body fat to survive their long winter sleep, which means that many will continue to search for food while it is available to them. High-energy foods such as garbage, bird feed, fruit, pet food and the contents of outdoor freezers are very attractive to bears, and with their excellent sense of smell they are easily able to locate these foods. Please remember to keep these food sources secured against bears.
2012 has been a moderate year for bears in and around Revelstoke, with 125 sightings reported in the city and two bears destroyed so far, compared with 297 reports and 10 bears destroyed last year. In part this has been due to a good wild berry crop but it can also be attributed to the co-operation of many community members who have made efforts to secure bear attractants. Securing attractants can reduce the chances of bears becoming habituated and food-conditioned, and can significantly decrease the potential for human/bear conflict.
Revelstoke Bear Aware has been active in the community this year, communicating the Bear Aware message to 2334 people through presentations, public displays, door-to-door campaigns, garbage tagging campaigns, and The Gleaning Project, which harvested a total of 1,154 kilograms of fruit from the community and donated 424 kilograms of fruit to the food bank.
Revelstoke Bear Aware would like to thank Columbia Basin Trust, the British Columbia Conservation Foundation, BC Hydro, CP Rail, Revelstoke Community Foundation, and Revelstoke Credit Union for the funding they provided to the 2012 program. Thank you also to Parks Canada, the Conservation Officer Service, the Ministry of Forests, the City of Revelstoke, and the large group of volunteers who have all supported the program in 2012. Also, thank you to our local media for their continued support in communicating the Bear Aware message to the residents of Revelstoke. Finally, a big thanks to all the Revelstoke residents who made the effort to secure their bear attractants this season.
Although bears will soon be heading into their winter dens, Revelstoke Bear Aware will continue to work through the winter months. At this time of year progress is made toward becoming a bear smart community, the annual report is completed, and funding requirements and work plans for 2013 are determined. This will ensure the Bear Aware message continues to reach the residents of Revelstoke.
For more information regarding securing bear attractants, please visit the provincial Bear Aware website at www.bearaware.bc.ca or Revelstoke’s local website at www.revelstokebearaware.org.
To report a conflict with a bear, please call the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.