Wildlife accessing garbage and human caused wildlife mortality show a decreasing trend in our communities.

Elk Valley communities have taken a big step forward and have been setting a precedent for other mountain communities when it comes to reducing human/wildlife conflict.  The residential certified bear resistant carts in Sparwood, the gravity locking carts and communal bear resistant dumpsters in Fernie and bear resistant carts available for Elkford residents have reduced the amount of wind strewn litter and garbage accessible to wildlife and enabled residents to manage household garbage responsibly.  There is no curbside garbage collection in the South Country where residents keep garbage indoors until they take it to the transfer station.

Overall, the number of Problem Wildlife Occurrence Reports (PWOR’s) citing bears accessing garbage has been lower in residential areas the last few years and wildlife destroyed due to concerns for human safety in the Elk Valley and South Country has decreased considerably.  Human caused mortality has gone from:  33 black bears, 1 grizzly bear and 1 cougar destroyed in 2015, 5 black bears in 2016, 2 grizzly bears destroyed by residents in defence of property, 2 cougars, 5 black bears and 1 grizzly bear destroyed in 2017, 1 injured black bear destroyed for humane reasons, 1 cougar, 1 grizzly bear and 1 black bear destroyed to date in 2018.  This decrease in human caused wildlife mortality can be attributed to increased awareness regarding the management of wildlife attractants, less garbage accessible to wildlife with upgraded garbage collection systems in communities and a good berry crop.

There has been an increase in human/wildlife conflict in recreational areas.  A child was attacked by a cougar while out on a family fishing trip and there were many reports of trail users getting bluff charged by black and grizzly bears and moose on Elk Valley trails.  An increase in trail and backcountry use, development, logging, more highway traffic and more people in wildlife habitat have all contributed to more human/wildlife encounters in the backcountry.

The South Country had a high level of grizzly bear activity between May and October which can be attributed to a number of factors including but not limited to:  a cold spring pushing bears into valley bottoms to look for emerging greenery, hot dry weather and smoke, a poor huckleberry crop at higher elevations and grizzly bears being drawn into valley bottoms accessing fruit trees, Saskatoon berries and livestock on their way to feed on the spawning Kokanee salmon.  To date this year one grizzly has been destroyed in Jaffray.

Thanks to ongoing support and valuable community partnerships, the WildSafeBC Program was well received.   The demand continues to increase throughout Elk Valley and South Country communities and is indicative of the program’s success.  The Junior Ranger program was delivered to 540 pre-school and school aged children, over 250 adults received wildlife awareness and bear spray training , 750 contacts were made at community events, 70 000 people reached through local media and 38 000 reached through social media. Finally, thank you to everyone who has been a good neighbour by keeping garbage inaccessible to wildlife between collection days, cleaning up their fruit trees and helping their neighbours do the same.  Bears and other wildlife have huge home ranges, will travel great distances for food and don’t recognize political boundaries.   This collective effort has resulted in cleaner and safer communities for people and wildlife and a reduction in human caused wildlife mortality.  The WildSafeBC Program will be going into hibernation until May 2019.

brown balck bear

Coexisting with Grizzly Bears Workshop, electric fending, grizzly bear safety and bear spray training, November 4, Jaffray Community Hall from 10 am to 1pm.

In response to a high level of grizzly bear activity in the South Country, WildSafeBC and Grizzly Bear Solutions will be cohosting a Grizzly Bear workshop at the Jaffray Community Hall on Sunday November 4th at 10 am free of charge.

Electric fencing workshop from 10 to 11:30 am.  Learn how to install and maintain electric fencing to protect your fruit trees, gardens, chickens and livestock from bears.   Cost sharing is available on your electric fencing for bears, contact grizzlybearsolutions@gmail.com

Grizzly bear safety and how to use bear spray at 11:30.  Learn more about grizzly bears and how to respond to wildlife encounters and get hands on experience using inert bear spray (like the real thing but without the sting of the pepper).  The safest wildlife encounter is one prevented.  Having bear spray accessible and knowing how to use it will give you the confidence to do the right thing (stay calm, assess the situation and respond accordingly) and not give in to the instinct to run (which can invoke the chase instinct).

For more information contact fernie@wildsafebc.comJaffray electric fencing and bear safety workshop Nov 4 2018

Coexisting with Grizzly Bears Workshop, electric fending, grizzly bear safety and bear spray training, November 4, Jaffray Community Hall from 10 am to 1pm.

In response to a high level of grizzly bear activity in the South Country, WildSafeBC and Grizzly Bear Solutions will be cohosting a Grizzly Bear workshop at the Jaffray Community Hall on Sunday November 4th at 10 am free of charge.

Electric fencing workshop from 10 to 11:30 am.  Learn how to install and maintain electric fencing to protect your fruit trees, gardens, chickens and livestock from bears.   Cost sharing is available on your electric fencing for bears, contact grizzlybearsolutions@gmail.com

Grizzly bear safety and how to use bear spray at 11:30.  Learn more about grizzly bears and how to respond to wildlife encounters and get hands on experience using inert bear spray (like the real thing but without the sting of the pepper).  The safest wildlife encounter is one prevented.  Having bear spray accessible and knowing how to use it will give you the confidence to do the right thing (stay calm, assess the situation and respond accordingly) and not give in to the instinct to run (which can invoke the chase instinct).

For more information contact fernie@wildsafebc.com

Jaffray electric fencing and bear safety workshop Nov 4 2018

Bear sightings on dike trail by Dogwood Park, Fernie and Grizzly bears in Jaffray and Tie Lake

Friday October 26.  Bears have been seen on 4th Avenue A and on the dike trail by Dogwood park in Fernie.  Grizzly bear sightings reported by the Tie Lake Transfer Station and knocking over empty garbage cans on Shelbourne road in Jaffray.  Remember, even an empty garbage is a visual cue and odors will attract bears.   Keep them indoors and away from  bears.

For more information on wildlife and safety go to www.wildsafebc.com

bear sniffing garbage can

Bears on Park Crescent, James White Park and in West Fernie

Bear sightings have been reported in a backyard on Park Crescent, in James White Park and on the trail by the wetlands area in West Fernie.  So far this year the number of calls to the Conservation Officer Service has been low in residential areas, 45 reports for black bears in 2018, versus 157 in 2015.  To date this year one injured black bear was destroyed for humane reasons at Fernie Alpine Resort and one habituated cougar was destroyed in the City of Fernie.   This reduction in human/wildlife conflict can be attributed to a good berry crop, increased awareness regarding the management of wildlife attractants, a high bear mortality rate in 2015 and less garbage accessible to wildlife with the new automated wildlife resistant carts and bear resistant community dumpsters.

However, there was an increase in incidents between people and wildlife in recreational areas as trail and backcountry use continues to increase.  A child was attacked by a cougar in Morissey and there were many reports of mountain bikers getting bluff charged by grizzly bears on trails. More people and highway traffic, a noticeable increase in trail use, more visitors, unsecured garbage, unmanaged fruit trees and new developments all contribute to human/wildlife conflict.

Thanks for being a good neighbour by keeping your garbage carts indoors until day of collection, picking all fruit as soon as possible, assisting neighbours who may be unable to pick their fruit trees and securing anything else that might attract wildlife.  Consider removing fruit trees that you don’t plan to harvest and replace them with native non-fruit bearing trees.  The end result will be a safer and cleaner community for people and wildlife.

 

bear eating apples

apple trees will attract bears to your yard

Cougar sightings at Fernie Alpine Resort and Grizzly bears in Jaffray and Hosmer

Wildlife update Monday October 15.

Fernie

A cougar was reported on Highline Drive by Lizard Creek Lodge late at night on the weekend.   If you see a cougar that is watching you, maintain eye contact with the cougar and speak to it in a loud firm voice. Reinforce the fact that you are a human and not an easy target. Back out of the area and seek assistance or shelter. Call the Conservation Officer Service reporting line (1-877-952-7277) to report the incident.

Hosmer

Grizzly and black bears reported on properties on Stephenson road.

South Country

Grizzly bear sightings reported throughout Jaffray and Galloway.  Livestock and fruit trees are the main attractant in this area.

If you keep chickens, bees or small livestock, use a properly installed and maintained electric fence.  Store all feed in a secure location and ensure feeding areas are clean and free of attractants. Apples are a food source for bears.  Thanks for being a good neighbour and not putting your neighborhood in harm’s way by picking all fruit as soon as possible and assisting neighbours who may be unable to pick their fruit. Consider removing fruit trees and replacing them with native non-fruit bearing trees.

For more information on preventing human/wildlife conflict visit www.wildsafebc.com

cougarmr

 

FJ Mitchell students in Sparwood learning about the new Bear Resistant Carts

Thanks to Kindergarten, Grade 2 and Grade 5 students and teachers at FJ Mitchell elementary in Sparwood.  I’m always so impressed with the knowledge and passion our kids have about wildlife.  I am counting on them to go home and educate their families about the benefits of the proper use of the new bear resistant garbage carts and the importance of preventing human/wildlife conflict at home.

FJ mitchell with bin

Bears getting into garbage left out by the Montane Barn and grizzly bears in Jaffray

Passers-by reported bears accessing garbage left overnight by the Montane Barn in Fernie early Sunday morning.  Bears have now learned that garbage is an easy food source.  Expect them to return anytime and to start making their way into town from the outside perimeter.  Bear sightings have been reported in the park behind Riverside Drive in West Fernie.

Elkford

Bear sightings reported on Fording Drive.

South Country

Two families of grizzly bears have been reported accessing fruit trees throughout Jaffray.   WildSafeBC and the Conservation Officer Service have canvassed the area and requested property owners to clean up fruit trees.

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.

Bear Carrying Garbage - Kirk Friederich

 

 

 

 

Bear sightings on the outside perimeter of Fernie and grizzly bear sighitngs in the South Country

Wildlife update Monday October 1.  Bear sightings have been reported on the Coal Discovery Trail just below Silveridge and on the dike trail by the golf course on the outside perimeter of Fernie.  There have been very few recent bear sightings in Fernie.   Let’s keep it that way.   It is much easier to keep human food and other attractants away from wildlife in the first place, than it is to teach bears, cougars, deer, skunks and rodents to stay away from unnatural food, such as garbage that they have learned to enjoy.

Bear sightings have been reported throughout the Montane Trail network and up by Castle Mountain.  A moose was reported on Deadfall earlier this week.  When you choose to recreate in the back country be prepared and expect to encounter wildlife anytime.  Wildlife, like people, will choose the path of least resistance and will cover great distances to forage for food.

South Country

Black and grizzly bear sightings have reported throughout the South Country, Jaffray, Rosen Lake, Tie Lake , Grassmere, Galloway and on the Jaffray Baynes Lk rd.  Protect small livestock with a properly maintained electric fence.

Store all feed in a secure location and ensure feeding areas are clean and free of wildlife attractants.  Hunters, thank you for disposing of carcasses responsibly, split them up, bag them and take them to the transfer station.

Thank you for keeping garbage in a garage, shed or indoors inaccessible to bears and other wildlife, cleaning up fruit trees and anything else that might attract wildlife.

For more information go to www.wildsafebc.com

bear family from fernie

 

 

 

What do you do if you see a bear? Ask a kindergarten student!

Thank you to all the students ad teachers I have worked with this past week at IDES, the Fernie Academy, Fernie and Sparwood Foreign Exchange students and Elkford High School.  I am always so impressed with the passion and knowledge our children have.  Even the 5 year olds know what to do if they see a bear or where to keep garbage between collection days.  Keep up the great work and thanks for helping educate our community on the importance of keeping wildlife wild and communities safe.

I look forward to working with Outdoor Connections Forest School, Bright Beginnings and Sparwood and Jaffray elementary next week.  If you would like to book a WildSafeBC presentation for your group please contact fernie@wildsafebc.comdaycare