Remove the food, eliminate the conflict. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

Bear_Garbage_CanMy goal as a WildSafeBC Community Coordinator is to create awareness and ultimately prevent human-wildlife conflict throughout Elk Valley and South Country communities.  I Endeavor to do this using innovation, education and cooperation. The majority of human-wildlife conflict in BC is preventable. Remove the food, eliminate the conflict. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

All it takes is one residence with garbage outside, unmanaged fruit trees or other wildlife attractants to kick off the cycle of wildlife learning to rely on human food to survive which eventually can result in a threat to human safety. How do we create widespread, community-level change that is crucial to reducing human-wildlife conflict in the long term? We need everyone on board.

Whether I am at a community event, presenting to elementary schools (more than 1200 students from kindergarten to grade 6 this year), talking to homeowners, passers-by when I am putting up “Bear in Area” signs, writing weekly columns for local papers, talking to local radio stations, collaborating with district Council and staff, my end goal is to keep the conversation around human-wildlife conflict at the forefront of people’s minds.

When these conversations take on a life of their own, at home, in neighborhoods, local cafes, on social media and at City Hall, it inspires real behavioural change. Garbage is cleaned up, forgotten fruit trees get picked, bear resistant dumpsters or retrofitted dumpsters pop up, kids get involved and neighbors work together.

This was my 11th year delivering the program and it has been by far the most difficult.    A high bear population due to productive berry crops the last few years, an early spring, a hot dry summer and a berry crop failure caused a lack of natural food for bears and resulted in human-bear conflict and high bear mortality. Add to that, development, logging and an increase in trail and backcountry use. As the Elk Valley and South Country continue to grow and develop so will the need to continue educational efforts. There will always be new bears and new people.


The WildSafeBC program will be going into hibernation until the spring. Thank you to everyone who has helped create awareness, complied with bylaws, bear-proofed their property and helped others do the same. Together we can make a difference, one paw print, one garbage can at a time.




Danger, Snare in Area sign at the four corners in Ridgemont

A sign stating: Danger, Snare in Area was put up by someone at the four corners in Ridgemont sometime last week.  This is an official Conservation Officer Service sign but was not put up by them.  Thanks to anyone who is up there the next few days and is able to get to take the sign down and bring it back to the CO Service.

We put a lot of effort and time into educating the community.  Signage is one of the effective tools, it’s a shame that someone chose to be so disrespectful and ignorant. snare in area


Bears, Kids, Halloween and Pumpkins!

bears and pumpkinsA few bear sightings have been reported in Elk Valley and South Country communities. Bears are making their last attempt to fatten up before finding a den for the winter. Pumpkins are a bear attractant. If you don’t want a bear on your doorstep then consider bringing the pumpkins in at night or even better, keep pumpkins in the house displayed in the window.

When you send your kids out trick or treating remind them to: travel in groups, make noise and stay in well-lit areas on the main street.

If they see a bear, remind them to:

  • Let the bear know you are human (arms out to side and talk to the bear in a calm voice).
  • Back away slowly and allow the bear an escape route
  • Never turn your back on wildlife
  • Do not approach or feed wildlife
  • Go to the nearest home and tell an adult there is a bear in the area.


Most Elk Valley and South Country children from kindergarten to grade 6 have attended a WildSafeBC presentation at school and have been taught how to respond to bear encounters.

After Halloween please dispose of pumpkins responsibly ASAP. Household garbage kept in a garage or shed or take the pumpkins to the transfer station.





Relocated Bear from Alberta has been seen in Elkford.

bear sniffing garbage canA black bear with an orange ear tag from Alberta has been seen in Elkford. Relocation seldom works with bears. Individuals often return to their original home or become “problem” animals in other communities and even provinces in this case. In addition, translocated wildlife often fail to adapt to their new habitat and, as a result, may starve to death or be killed by the animals that already occupy the area.

Removing bears (relocation or destruction) is not the answer. The only proven effective way of preventing human-wildlife conflict is the responsible management of garbage, fruit, BBQ’s and other attractants. Thank you for bear-proofing your property, complying with bylaws and helping keep wildlife wild and your neighborhood safe.

Mountain biker was bluff charged by a grizzly bear on Swine flu trail in Fernie

A mountain biker was bluff charged by a grizzly bear just past the bench on the way back down on Swine Flu trail early Saturday morning.  This is normal defensive behaviour when a bear is surprised at close range.  Remember to make noise to warn wildlife of your presence, especially around blind corners and areas where the line of sight is poor.

There have also been many reports of people dumping carcasses and animal remains by multi use trails. Animal remains can be taken to the RDEK transfer stations free of charge. They must be split up and bagged and taken to household garbage. Large carcasses and hides must be taken to Sparwood and there is a $25 tipping fee.bcWildSafe_180x120

Cougar sighting reported on Mt Fernie Provincial Park trails

Wednesday October 21.  A cougar was seen by a trail runner last night at about 6 pm by the intersection of Old Goat and Happy Gilmar trails in Mt Fernie Provincial Park.  The runner was alerted by his dog barking, the cougar was up in a tree and growled.  The runner turned around with his dogs and left the area.

A cougar was reported attacking an off leash dog last week by the power line at the top of Stove Trail.

If you encounter a Cougar

  • Pick up small children and small pets
  • Let the Cougar know you are human-NOT prey
  • Make yourself as large and as mean as possible
  • Use your voice in a loud and assertive manner
  • Back away slowly. Never turn your back on wildlife
  • If the Cougar attacks, fight back with everything that you’ve got, it is a predatory attack

Never Approach or Feed Wildlife

Report human/wildlife conflict to 1-877-952-7277 or #7277 on cell.cougar by meg Toom

Kindergarten students at Isabella Dicken learning to respond to bear encounters

Thanks to all the Elk Valley and South Country elementary schools for the opportunity to teach students about the importance of bear -proofing their homes and knowing what to do if they see a bear.

Parents, all kids have been given a take home assignment and asked to help identify any bear attractants at home and teach the family what to do if you see a bear and thanks toides kindergarten the teachers for following up.

As a WildSafeBC Community Coordinator I am grateful for the opportunity to educate over 1000 kids this fall.  Kids, thanks for your help  educating the community.  Keep up the great work.

Victim of black bear attack inside her home in Kalispell dies

A woman found to be feeding black bears died from injuries caused by a black bear attacking her in her home a few days ago.  Yes, garbage on the porch, in the backyard,rotting apples on the ground and other food attracting bears to your property and neighborhood is dangerous!  Read on for details

The Conservation Officers, bylaw officers and public educators are doing their best to educate, prevent and deal with human wildlife/conflict.  It is up to everyone who has chosen to live in bear country to bear proof their property and take some time to look around their own neighborhood and talk to people on their block about the consequences of feeding wildlife (by intent or neglect).

Feeding bears is dangerous and is a threat to public safety.

Dead goat and grizzly bear on Heikos trail, use caution.

Monday October 5. bcWildSafe_180x120

A group of goat hunters were charged by a grizzly bear on Heikos trail about 2 kms west of the caves, 750 metres off the trail on Satruday. The group had legally shot a goat and were packing up the meat when the grizzly bear charged at them. The grizzly was shot in self-defence. Please use caution if choosing to hike Heikos trail, dead goat and grizzly just off the trail.


Bears reported in Ridgemont, throughout the Annex, Alpine trail, Annex park, Coal Creek boat launch, Cemetary bypass and Mad Cow trails.


Bears reported in Sparwood Heights, Buckthorne Place and Mountainview Mobile Home Park.


Bears reported on Minto Crescent, Alpine Way, Balmer Crescent, Cassidy Crescent.

Be prepared and expect to encounter bears anytime, anyplace.

At home: Bear proof your property: lock up the garbage, clean up the fruit, feed pets indoors, keep pets indoors at night and get rid of anything that might attract bears to your property. Encourage and help your neighbours do the same. Report offenders to your local bylaw officer.

In town or on the trails: Travel in groups, stay on the trail and in well-lit areas and make noise to warn bears of your presence. If you encounter a bear, remain calm, identify yourself as human with a calm voice, back away slowly and leave the bear an escape route.

We live in wildlife habitat. Be aware of your surroundings and respectful of the environment.

Never approach or feed wildlife.