The Columbia-Kootenay Zone Conservation Officer Service has received several confirmed black bear sightings and reported attractant conflicts in Revelstoke.
Conservation Officer Sgt. Drew Milne is sending out this reminder message, proactively, in order to keep people, pets, property safe and keep our wildlife wild and alive.
The best and easiest way to keep our bears out of conflict is to ensure that all bear attractants are secured. Garbage is the obvious attractant that needs to be secured but items like birdseed, humming bird feeders, food soiled BBQs, fruit bushes, fruit trees, unmanaged compost, food and beverage recycling are commonly overlooked bear attractants.
These food sources, when accessed by bears, will condition the bear’s feeding behavior. They will look for built-up human habited areas as a food source.
Generally, if the bear feeds in areas where there are people and are relatively undisturbed they can become habituated to human presence. It is at this point, food conditioned and habituated, where we could see the bear’s behavior can become bolder as the bear looks for additional food sources within our homes, outbuildings and businesses.
We often hear “I don’t want to report the bear’s presence to the COs because it’s not bothering me” or “I don’t want the bear to be shot.” Unfortunately these mindsets can cause a bear’s behavior to escalate, due to lack of intervention, to a point where the animal can injure someone or have to be euthanized.
When the Columbia-Kootenay’s Conservation Officers receive a human-wildlife complaint they assess and determine the appropriate response needed. For example, if we get a complaint about a bear in a neighborhood we may pass it along to Bear Aware coordinators for them to post signs or we may join Bear Aware and Bylaw Services and conduct an attractant audit in the area or perhaps we may use a non-lethal intervention option to move the bear along.
Attractant audits involve officers and/or Bear Aware coordinators going door to door in the conflict areas to identify attractants and provide educational materials or advice. Conservation Officers could also issue:
- Dangerous Wildlife Protection Orders that compel someone to remove/secure an attractant
- Issue a $230 Wildlife Act violation ticket to the resident for attracting conflict wildlife to their premises.
We are encouraging the public to report all bear sightings in built-up areas and any wildlife conflicts to the Conservation Officer Service 24 hour RAPP hotline. Your call could make the difference in saving the animal’s life. RAPP line: 1-877-952-7277.