Decrease in human/wildlife conflict for Elk Valley and South Country communities

A great berry crop, community initiatives (bear resistant dumpsters and fruit tree harvesting programs), increased awareness (child and adult educational programs) and a high bear mortality rate in 2015 where more than thirty food conditioned and habituated bears had to be destroyed have all contributed to an overall reduction in human wildlife conflict in the Elk Valley and South Country in 2016.

Although the total number of Problem Wildlife Occurrence Reports, calls to the Conservation Officer Hotline, has decreased, the proportion of Grizzly bear calls has increased.  There have been five human caused non-hunting grizzly bear deaths caused by car and train collisions, control kills due to human/bear conflict and illegal kills. Five habituated food conditioned black bears had to be destroyed in 2016, two in Fernie and three in Sparwood.

A new University of Alberta study by PhD candidate Clayton Lamb has found the Elk Valley has effectively become an ecological trap, where human development in close proximity to attractive berry crops resulted in a 17% lower survival rate for Grizzly bears.  According to Lamb “Non-hunting deaths — like those caused by road, rail and human-bear interactions — are harder to regulate and will require much more education and behavioural adjustments.”

We have chosen to live in wildlife habitat. Thank you to everyone who has made efforts to remove wildlife attractants from their properties and prevent human/wildlife conflict when out in recreational areas.  The end result has been a significant reduction in wildlife mortality caused by human-wildlife interactions.  The WildSafeBc program will be in hibernation until May 2017.  We look forward to continue working with residents and visitors to ensure that wildlife stays wild and communities stay safe.  well fed sparwood grizzly

Bears reported ausing property damage to access deer carcass and compost

Wildlife update Monday October 17.

Elko

There have been reports of bears causing property damage to a shed to access a hanging deer carcass and damage to a fence to access compost.

Sparwood

Bears reported accessing unsecured garbage on Pine avenue

Elkfordblackie 2

Bear sightings reported on Galbraith Drive.

Expect bears in  East Kootenay communities until early November.  Keep garbage secure and manage all other attractants responsibly and bears will move on.

 

 

 

Twenty volunteers picked over twenty five fruit trees and filled four pickup truck loads of harvested fruit in Fernie.

volunteer apple pickA group of concerned residents spearheaded by Rachel Dortman and Elk Valley Homesteading worked together to form a fruit tree management initiative.  They updated the fruit tree map from the 2009 Bear Hazard Assessment, delivered fruit tree management tips and information about assistance harvesting and disposing of fruit to just over 300 properties known to have fruit trees in Fernie.

14 property owners’ registered for assistance with fruit picking on 3 select days in September.  A total of 20 volunteers picked 23 fruit trees, including 18 apple trees.  Four truckloads of fruit were harvested, 2.5 loads donated to a pig farmer, 1 load to the transfer station in Fernie and the rest was taken by volunteers.  This initiative was a great success.  Many dialogues were formed between volunteers, neighbours and other community members and the project was well promoted in our local paper and on social media.  The end result was a huge step in the right direction and a noticeable positive difference in the overall management of apple trees in Fernie.   Thank you to Rachel Dortman and the crew of volunteers.

Wildsights apple capture program also has a tree and tool sharing program with fruit picking, tree pruning equipment and apple presses available to lend.  A number of residents have brought forward concerns regarding the ornamental crab apple trees on 2nd avenue.  This will be brought up at the next Council meeting later this month.  This is another ideal opportunity for the City of Fernie to be seen leading by example and replacing the crab apple trees with non-fruit bearing trees.

Bear sightings behind the bike park and on Ridgemont road in Fernie

Thursday October 6.  I saw these bear prints yesterday afternoon on Ridgemont Road.  They lead to Broken Hip trail, along the berms and right down through the corkscrew.  Bears, like mountain bikers, love the bermed corners.  A bear and cub were also seen running into the bushes on the trail behind the bike park. I’m very happy to hear that this mom and cub are still weary of people.

The safest bear enounter is one prevented.  Make noise to warn bears of your presence and avoid surprising them at close range.

bb footprints

Help keep these Elk Valley Grizzly bears wild

These two very healthy looking wild grizzly bears have been seen by the Welcome to Sparwood sign on Highway 3.  Do not approach or feed the bears, clean up all attractants to help keep them wild.

Sparwood

Bears reported accessing garbage on Ponderosa and Engleman Spruce in Sparwood Heights and at the CP rail bunkhouse, hospital and high school dumpsters.  Grizzly bear sightings reported by the Welcome to Sparwood sign west of town and at the transfer station.

Fernie

Bear sightings reported on 12 th avenue, dike trail in the Annex Park, by the off leash dog park in the annex, Mt Proctor, by the cemetery, West Fernie and on Queen V and cemetery bypass trails in Ridgemont. It’s a beautiful time to be out on the trails but remember that wildlife like people will choose the path of least resistance, our favorite trails.  Be prepared and expect to encounter wildlife anytime.

Elkford

A bear was reported breaking into a car to get to food left in the vehicle.   Remember not to leave food or garbage in vehicles or in the back of pickup trucks.  A bear breaking into a vehicle will cause significant damage and eventually lead to human/wildlife conflict and the destruction of the bear.  Bear sightings reported on Balmer Crescent, Champlain and Chimo Drive.  Cougar sightings reported by the mobile home park at the ski hill and on Galbraith Drive.

Thank you for keeping garbage secure between collection days (in a garage, shed or indoors) or take excess garbage to the transfer station or to public bear resistant dumpsters.  Clean up fruit trees and secure any other wildlife attractants.  Thank you for sharing this message.  The end result will be a cleaner and safer community and help prevent the needless destruction of bears that come into conflict with people.

We live in wildlife habitat. Be aware of your surroundings and respectful of the environment.  If you observed dangerous wildlife

  • accessing garbage or other human supplied food sources
  • that cannot be scared off
  • a bear, cougar or wolf seen in an urban area

Call the Conservation Officer Service Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) 24 hr hotline on 1-877-952-7277. This allows officers to identify current hot spot locations and work with both residents and wildlife to encourage use of natural habitats and food sources before wildlife becomes habituated and/or a safety concern.

For more information on keeping communities’ safe and wildlife wild please visit www.wildsafebc.com, or follow us on Facebook WildSafeBC Elk Valley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

well fed sparwood grizzly

Bear breaks into a car to get to food in Elkford

A bear was reported breaking into a car to get to food left in the vehicle a few days ago in Elkford.   Remember not to leave food or garbage in vehicles or in the back of pick up trucks.  A bear breaking into a vehicle will cause significant damage and eventually lead to human/wildlife conflict and the destruction of the bear.

Thank you for keeping garbage secure between collection days (in a garage, shed or indoors) or take excess garbage to the transfer station or to public bear resistant dumpsters.blackie 2

Grizzly bears making themselves at home in Elk Valley towns.

Wildlfie update Monday September 26

sparwood grizzlies

Fernie

Bears reported on Elkview Drive, 9th avenue in the Annex, at the East end of 1st avenue by the schools, in the park behind West Fernie and on Stove Trail in Mt Fernie Provincial Park.

Sparwood

Bear and cubs reported in the campground and by the CP rail bunkhouse.

Elkford

Grizzly bear sightings reported on Needles Crescent by the bus stop, Bear Cub park on Galbraith drive and a walker on Cougar trail reported a grizzly bear walking towards him as he backed away.  Residents have been reported taking photos of grizzly bears sat on their front lawns.

Grasmere

A relocated collared grizzly bear from Montana was reported accessing apple trees and livestock feed.

Bears have been accessing garbage left outdoors, walkers on trails close to towns are getting stalked by grizzly bears, people have trees loaded with apples, won’t pick the apples but want the bear in the yard dealt with!  We chose to live here so we are all responsible for making sure we are making every effort to mitigate human/wildlife conflict.  We have a revolving door of new people and new bears in town all the time. So we long timers who have a better tolerance and understanding of wildlife need to lead by example and take it upon ourselves to work with new neighbours and visitors and make them “Bear Aware” and tell them about the resources we have.   If you are new to bear country, it’s up to you to learn about living with wildlife.

We have a volunteer group that will pick apples for people that are unable, contact Rachel Dortman, tel:  250-423-8665.  Wildsight has an apple capture program with equipment available to lend, fruit picking, tree pruning, apple presses, dehydrators, sauce makers etc…  Contact 250-423-3322.

Districts are taking measures to enable residents to dispose of garbage responsibly and many businesses are upgrading to bear resistant dumpsters. The WildSafeBC Junior Ranger program will be presented to over 1500 students in the Elk Valley and South Country. The Junior Rangers will be asked to help the family bear-proof their home and teachers have been asked to follow up.

We have made a lot of progress the last few years and thank you to everyone who has made an effort to bear proof their property.  We all have to work together.  Sadly between WildSafeBC, The Conservation Officer Service, local bylaw officers, volunteers and community groups we don’t have the resources to address all potential human/wildlife conflict situations.

Thank you for helping spread the word that garbage, fruit trees, birdseed and pet food etc. attract bears to your property making it more likely for the bear to break into your home creating a safety risk for your family and a death sentence for the bear.

 

 

 

Bears getting into garbage and apple trees all over the Elk Valley

There have been reports of bears accessing garbage and lured into backyards by unmanaged apple trees right accross the Elk Valley and South Country. For your own safety and to help keep our wildlife wild, keep your garbage locked up between collection days, clean up fruit trees and secure all other bear attractants for the next two months.

Garbage, fruit trees, birdseed and pet food etc. attract bears to your property making it more likely for the bear to break into your home creating a safety risk for your family and a death sentence for the bear.

Please share this message with your neighbours, we all need to work together, in some cases you may need to report themBear_Garbage_Can to your local bylaw officer.