BearAware successful with bear deterrent programs

Sharon Wieder the BearAware Community coordinator said there were only 41 calls to the Report all Poachers and Polluters line.

BearAware told council last week that this was a much quieter bear season when compared to last year.

Sharon Wieder the BearAware Community coordinator said there were only 41 calls to the Report all Poachers and Polluters line, which goes to the conservation officer in Castlegar. This is a marked decrease from 132 in 2010.

“They don’t have any statistics on bears that were killed in the area this year because that is not available until the end of the season, towards Nov. 30,” Wieder said.

“In general, people that I’ve talked to in town have commented on seeing far fewer bears than they have in the past and also reporting very large bears around more than before.”

Wieder gave her semifinal report from BearAware, the final report will be out at the end of November.

She said so far this year the cities of Rossland and Trail donated $2,500 each to the BearAware program. Columbia Basin Trust again donated money to communities in the basin that had BearAware programs to help cover the cost of the BearAware community coordinator wages.

In terms of activities this year, Wieder was glad to see the Wildlife Attractant bylaw passed.

She said some problems arose this season where the bylaw came in handy.

“We could use that bylaw as a little tool if you will,” she said. “To get people to be more compliant and more careful about bear garbage problems.”

She also talked about the bear saver cart, household carts that have been tested for bears.

“They don’t call them bear proof, because nothing’s actually bear proof, but they are extremely bear resistant,” she said. “It would take a lot for a bear to access one of those carts.”

There was one in the door of city hall.

She said the hope was that if they could get some interest in the carts they could put in a bulk order to get them at a reduced cost than if people bring them in on their own.

BearAware also put on a dumpster deputy program.

“Last year we had a huge problem with dumpsters so I started a program early this year, in April, talking to people and asking for volunteers to monitor dumpsters where they live and where they work,” she said.

The deputies report back to either Wieder, city hall and or waste management operators if they observed a dumpster that wasn’t locked or was too full that it couldn’t be closed and would attract bears.

She ended up with 13 people who volunteered to do that on a regular basis in Trail and Rossland.

Once the bears get in to the garbage, it’s pretty difficult to get them to change their patterns.

“The bears did come out a little later this year so it’s a combination of talking to people early and bears coming a bit later, a good combination,” she said.

Wieder was also looking for a letter of support from the city.

“As is customary for delegations, we don’t make decisions at this juncture,” Mayor Greg Granstrom said. “However, I think that it’s pretty simple that we can put something together.”

Coun. Jill Spearn congratulated Wieder on her job, admitting she is a bear lover.

“I live in the neighbourhood of bears and have not seen nearly as many bears this year,” Spearn said.

“Whatever we can do as a community to keep the bears alive and whatever we can do to as a community to keep educating our citizens.”

Spearn also asked if there would be BearAware programs going into schools to which Wieder commented that a program had been offered to schools but was turned down.

 

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