No Bear Aware for Kimberley this year

Noted wildlife biologist to discuss his book, Bears: Without Fear

The long-running Bear Aware program in Kimberley will not be funded this year due to a miscommunication between agencies applying for funding.

Erna Jensen-Shill, Program Manager for Wildsight Kimberley/Cranbrook says that unfortunately, it was one of those situations where Wildsight thought it was being handled by another agency, but no application was made for funding and by the time they found out it was too late.

“We regret that,” said Jensen-Shill. “It’s a valuable program. It is definitely on Wildsight’s radar to make sure it happens in 2014.”

Bear Aware provided education about living with bears, kept track of bears movement around Kimberley, and helped people deal with bear attractants such as fruit trees.

Bear encounters and sightings can still be reported to the provincial RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.

While there is no Bear Aware, Wildsight is presenting a program that they hope will increase people’s understanding of bears.

RMB (Rocky Mountain Books) has just released Bears: Without Fear by wildlife biologist Kevin Van Tighem.

Kevin Van Tighem has studied wildlife in western Canada for almost 40 years. A naturalist and hunter, he has written more than 200 articles, stories and essays on conservation and wildlife topics which have garnered him many awards, including Western Magazine Awards, Outdoor Writers of Canada book and magazine awards and the Journey Award for Fiction. He has served on the executive committees of the Federation of Alberta Naturalists, Alberta Wilderness Association and Foothills Model Forest. His decades of work in western Canada culminated in 2011 with his retirement as superintendent of Banff National Park. Kevin lives in Canmore, Alberta.

Van Tighem will be discussing Bears: Without Fear at several East Kootenay locations including Kimberley at Centennial Hall on June 19 at 7:30 p.m. and in Cranbrook on June 18 at the Manual Training Centre at 7:30 p.m.

In addition to Van Tighem’s thoughts on our relationship and attitude to wards bears, Susan Bond and Peter Moody, who were involved in a grizzly attack last November, will speak at both the Kimberley and Cranbrook sessions.

“Between Kevin and his extraordinary experience and knowledge combined with Peter and Susan and their story, it should be a very powerful, interesting evening,” Jensen-Shill said. “I’m looking forward to it.

“It’s not Bear Aware, but we’re happy to have this opportunity to get out the message about bears and humans sharing the planet.”