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

Spruce up Castegar, we’re being judged!

Communities in Bloom officials review everything from littering to city’s environmental policies

Kootenay heat wave sparks record-breaking energy use

Energy-use is nearing FortisBC’s highest peak load on record of 746 MW from December 2008

Kaslo native promotes science and reason on a global stage

Pangburn Philosophy is part show business, part intellectual journey

Trail All Stars riding tourney win into Little League provincials

The Trail All Stars are heading into the provincial championships on a winning note

Kootenay town was the hot spot in all of Canada on Monday

The temperature hit 38.8 C at the Warfield weather station on July 16, setting a new daily record

VIDEO: Trudeau shuffles familiar faces, adds new ones to expanded cabinet

Justin Trudeau shuffles his front bench Wednesday to install the roster of ministers that will be entrusted with leading the Liberal team into next year’s election.

Woman charged after eight dogs seized from hotel room

Sixteen dogs recently seized from Adams and her daughter in Quesnel

Motorcyclist grateful to be alive, thanks fellow drivers

Over a dozen people stopped to assist Lori Hann after she tumbled off her bike on Hwy 3, Saturday

Owner of B.C. fruit stand recounts ‘flames popping up everywhere’ from wildfire

The Mount Eneas wildfire is burning at about 200 hectares south of Peachland

Ontario, Saskatchewan premiers join together to oppose federal carbon plan

Saskatchewan is already involved in a court case over the tax

For-profit ridesharing legislation long overdue: BC Conservatives

Interim party leader Scott Anderson said the provincial government should step out of the way

After cave rescue, soccer boys pray for protection at Thai temple

On Wednesday evening, the boys and coach were released from hospital

Gymnastics sex abuse victims join hands, accept courage award at ESPYs

The women who spoke out against the abuse by Larry Nassar stood together Wednesday night

Wildfires erupt in B.C. Okanagan forcing evacuation orders and a highway closure

Check out a list of up-to-date information on blazes happening within the Kamloops Wildfire Centre.

Most Read