The former Bear Aware program, now Wildsafe BC, is working.
It is working so well in places like Rossland that bear encounters, and problem bears, with humans have greatly diminished.
Within the last bear “season,” there have been no problem bears destroyed in the Golden City , reported Sharon Wieder, Wildsafe BC coordinator for the city. There have been two destroyed in Trail this year.
She wasn’t sure what the exact reason for the drop in calls could be attributed to, perhaps it had to do with more people “out and about recreating,” the activity keeping bears away.
And an abundant berry crop. Saskatoon, huckleberry and other berries have been so plentiful they have kept bears busy in the woods and out of the city, where they would look for fruit trees.
“And, since bears don’t like conflict, they will avoid it (coming into the city) as much as they can,” she told council.
However, deer, coyotes and cougars are a growing problem in the city and across the province, said Wieder, just as people have started to receive the message about bear-proofing their homes and yards.
The messaging on the other three species has just begin, she noted, but with funding set to run out this year on the three-year contract the program has with the city, Wieder felt it was a good time to make a pitch at a committee of the whole meeting in late October.
The program requires some funding from the community, around $2,500 per year.