WildSafeBC Kimberley Cranbrook is reporting lower than average black bear reports this season, especially compared to last year’s numbers.
In 2019, there were 37 black bear encounters reported to WildSafeBC while in 2018 there were 45 reports. Overall numbers for 2019 (from January to October) are higher however, at 150 reports compared to 126 in 2018.
“These numbers may reflect many different factors such as, weather, [the] number of black bears in the area, [the] number of displaced black bears due to grizzly bears, but most of all, an increased awareness of the Conservation Officer Services RAPP Line,” said Community Coordinator Danica Roussy.
She says that one of the greatest opportunities and challenges for reducing human-wildlife conflict is determining “where and how we will” reduce them.
“For bears, it is just a matter of removing the attractant – such as securing our garbage,” Roussy said.
According to a graph measuring reports to conservation officers from 2016 until now, garbage remains the number one attractant of black bears in the area, followed by “other”, pets, livestock, residential fruit trees/berries and bird feeders.
Roussy says there are a number of ways that community members can improve including storing garbage in a secure location until the day of collection.
“Consider purchasing a bear-resistant bin, ensure bins are tightly closed, regularly wash all recyclables and clean bins that contain garbage or recycling,” she adds. “Do not leave garbage in the back of a truck, even if there’s a canopy. If you cannot store garbage securely, freeze smelly items and add to the bin only on the morning of collection.”
To report wildlife in conflict contact the Conservation Officer Service at 1.877.952.7277.