The bears are back in town – and so is WildSafeBC

Selkirk College graduate Jade Gustafson is taking charge of the WildsafeBC program in Trail-Rossland

Jade Gustafson is the new WildsafeBC coordinator in Trail and Rossland. Photo: WildsafeBC

Jade Gustafson is the new WildsafeBC coordinator in Trail and Rossland. Photo: WildsafeBC

WildSafeBC welcomed a new coordinator for Rossland-Trail.

Jade Gustafson is taking charge of the program this year and will look for resident’s cooperation and active support to keep Rossland and Trail wildlife wild and communities safe.

Gustafson recently graduated from Selkirk College with a diploma in Recreation, Fish and Wildlife Technology and looks forward to putting that knowledge to use.

“With a love of wildlife Jade is very excited to be able to learn and grow with the community this season,” read a WildsafeBC facebook post. “A long time local of the West Kootenay area, Jade can be found this summer at local events such as farmers markets, busy trailheads and local stores helping teach the community.”

WildSafeBC is the provincial leader in preventing conflict with wildlife through collaboration, education and community solutions. The program is managed and delivered by the BC Conservation Foundation in communities across BC.

From May to November, Gustafson will be involved in a number of initiatives including education programs, training sessions and outreach at various events around town as she spreads the word about how to safely keep wildlife wild and communities safe.

After emerging from their winter dens in April, bears will seek out protein-rich food sources in the valley bottoms where many communities are situated.

There have already been several reports of black bears in the area and some of these bears have been observed accessing unnatural sources of food. When bears have access to garbage and other unnatural food sources, conflict situations can develop.

It is particularly unfortunate to see sow bears teaching cubs to forage for unnatural food among people – potentially leading to future conflicts and shorter lives.

The most effective action we can take to keep bears wild and our communities safe is to keep all attractants secure, including:

• Do not store garbage or other organic waste outdoors. If you have curbside collection, only put the containers out on the morning of collection day – never the night before. Make sure recyclables have been cleaned.

• Protect fruit trees with electric fencing or pick fruit early and do not let windfall accumulate. Ensure your compost is well-managed and does not smell.

• Avoid feeding birds when bears are most active (April to November) and ensure birdfeeders are always inaccessible to non-target species such as bears, deer, squirrels and raccoons. Do not let seed accumulate that may attract rats and other rodents.

• Feed pets indoors and keep pets inside at night.

• Keep your barbecue clean by burning off uncooked food and emptying the grease container.

For further information on reducing human-wildlife conflict visit our website wildsafebc.com, follow WildSafeBC Rossland Trail on Facebook, or contact your local Community Coordinator, Jade, at Rossland@wildsafebc.com or 250-231-9679

Please report sightings of bears, wolves or cougars in urban/residential areas, or wildlife in conflict, to the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.

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