As of October 29, there were just under 230 black and grizzly bear reports to the Conservation Officer Service (COS) this year in Elk Valley and South Country communities. This is above average since 2015. The increase in reports can be attributed to a high bear population due to good berry crops and a higher bear birth rate the past few years. An increase in development, tourism, trail and backcountry use is also a factor and has contributed to an increase in human/bear conflict and bear reports to the COS.
Although the number of bear reports is higher than average, black and grizzly bear mortality has shown a decreasing trend since 2015 when 33 bears were destroyed in the region. To date, six (two black and four grizzly) food conditioned and habituated bears have been destroyed in 2019. This decrease in bear mortality can be attributed to availability of natural food, increased awareness and better management of wildlife attractants: less wind strewn litter and garbage accessible to wildlife with better residential carts and bear resistant commercial bins versus plastic bags on the curb side. Garbage remains the most reported attractant for all wildlife combined, although residential fruit trees are seldom reported they remain a significant attractant and require better management.