Bears well behaved in Rossland

An abundant berry crop in the forest around Rossland led to an unusually quiet year for bear activity.

An abundant berry crop in the forest around Rossland led to an unusually quiet year for bear activity, according to the annual WildSafe BC report.

The season also provided an abundant urban fruit crop with many apples, plums and pears that brought the bears back into town starting in September.

“There were no bears destroyed in Rossland this year (2013) and only two bears destroyed in Trail, one in May and one in September,” she said.

Last year saw the Bear Aware name changed to WildSafe BC and the program focus expanded from bears to all urban wildlife. In Rossland, this wildlife includes cougars and coyotes.

Although bear encounters were down, cougar and coyote sightings in Rossland were up from previous years, she said.

“So the new WildSafe BC educational materials were well received,” said Weider.

But the quiet year in 2013 presents more challenges for 2014, said Sharon Weider, WildSafe BC coordinator for Rossland and Trail.

A quiet bear season now means having to convince people that their attractants need to be managed for when a bear shows up, not if a bear shows up.

“During a quiet season, it is easy to believe that your attractants are not a problem,” said Weider.

The abundant fruit crop emphasized that fruit trees need to be managed every year so that a bumper crop can be handled more easily, she added.

“Historically, garbage and fruit trees are the first and second greaest attractants that create human-wildlife conflict,” said Weider. “This year was no different.”

There was increased interest in electric fencing and presentations in the schools last year, both of which had been challenges in previous years.

The Harvest Rescue team in Rossland was busy collecting and distributing fruit, culminating in a successful community fruit press day in the city that produced 240 litres of juice, said Weider.

Weider said 2013 was the second year of the West Kootenay Human-Bear Conflict working group that met to discuss bear management issues and developed creative solutions in collaboration with all levels of government.

The group provided a pool of knowledge, experience and influence. In Rossland, residents greeted installation of bear-resistant trash bins on the newly renovated Columbia and Washington avenues “with enthusiasm,” said Weider.

A lack of residential bear resistant trash bins available locally meant that Rosslanders with little or no secure space to store garbage had challenges. The working group is looking to resolve that issue, said Weider.

Other new features of the WildSafe BC program include the website and the wildlife alert reporting program (WARP) map and a Facebook site with individual community pages, including one for Rossland.

The new program—like it predecessor Bear Aware—strives to reduce human-wildlife conflict through education, innovation and cooperation.

“The goal is to keep communities safe and wild,” said Weider.

And the goal in 2014 is to engage Rosslanders in a discussion regarding changes to the Solid Waste Management bylaw.

As well, WildSafe BC will be looking to partner with the city and the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary to make bear-resistant bins available to residents at a reasonable cost.

Weider also planned to organize a fruit tree management work party for “rogue” trees, and have three more electric fences installed in Rossland.

Just Posted

Rural dividend grants awarded in Kootenay West

Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy made the grant announcements in Trail on Thursday

Rossland skiier places third at U19 Canadian Ski Cross

Rossland’s Sage Stefani finished out a successful season.

Warfield elementary school celebrating 70 years

Webster Elementary School officially opened April 23, 1949; open house and events planned next week

Exhausted Rossland skateboard volunteers pass torch to city council

Organization asks council to take over project

Rossland council split on arena fix

Rossland council approves band-aid for arena, while its future is debated

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Police pursue pesky porker on Vancouver Island

‘This was allegedly not the pig’s first escape’

Westjet tries again to dismiss proposed class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination

Former flight attendant claims airline broke contractual promise to create harassment-free workplace

Man airlifted to hospital after apparent hunting incident in East Kootenay

The man was in stable condition when he was flown out of Fairmont Hot Springs to a Calgary hospital

Police probe eight fires set at B.C. elementary school

Nanaimo RCMP say fires appear to have been set intentionally

Most Read