The Conservation Officer Service plans to continue stepped up audit program in spring

In the Skeena region, 78 inspections yielded 54 enforcement actions

A stock photo of a bear with garbage. In an effort to reduce human-wildlife conflicts, the B.C. Conservation Officer Service (COS) recently conducted a province-wide bear attractant audit resulting in 732 enforcement actions. Seventy-eight inspections in the Skeena region yielded 54 enforcement actions, a rate of approximately 0.69 actions per inspection. This compares to 0.22 for the Thompson-Cariboo region, however other regions were as high as 2.55 actions per inspection. (File photo)

In an effort to reduce human-wildlife conflicts, the B.C. Conservation Officer Service (COS) recently conducted a province-wide bear attractant audit resulting in 732 enforcement actions.

In the Skeena region, 78 inspections yielded 54 enforcement actions, a rate of approximately 0.69 actions per inspection. This compares to 0.22 for the Thompson-Cariboo region, however other regions were as high as 2.55 actions per inspection (South Coast).

READ MORE: Clean up, save a bear

During the audits, conservation officers (CO) patrolled neighbourhoods and other areas to ensure attractants were properly secured by using bear-proof bins. They also checked if excess fruit had been picked from trees and electric fencing was used around livestock.

The audits, which began in summer 2019 but ramped up in the fall months, also resulted in 76 charges throughout the province. Additionally, 355 property owners received Dangerous Wildlife Protection Orders, directing them to remove an attractant or face a $575 fine.

The audits had a particular focus on areas where there has been a history of bear conflicts or where unsecured attractants, such as garbage, pet food, birdseed and compost, have historically led to issues with bears.

A second phase of the audit is planned for spring 2020 which will focus on the period after bears have woken up from winter hibernation.

“Every year, too many bears and other wildlife are destroyed [a term COs use to denote the killing of an animal] because their natural behaviour has been altered due to easy access to non-natural food sources like garbage,” a Dec. 20 release reads. “Habituated bears lose their fear of people and gain appetites for non-natural food, putting both themselves and communities at risk.”

READ MORE: Grizzly bear found shot near Terrace

Doug Forsdick, chief conservation officer for COS is reminding people to take care with any bear attractants regardless of whether they are at home or out in the bush.

“Public safety is paramount,” he said. “The Conservation Officer Service cannot stress enough that the best way to keep people safe and bears from being destroyed is to secure attractants around your home, business or campsite. The Conservation Officer Service hopes that through these attractant audits, the public will recognize that more needs to be done to ensure everyone does their part to help keep wildlife wild. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to ensure their attractants are properly managed.”

According to the COS, every year they receive more than 25,000 reports of human-wildlife conflicts, a large number of which are related to bears and unsecured attractants. The Bear Smart Community Program encourages communities to achieve “Bear Smart” status by following a series of set criteria aimed at reducing human-bear conflicts. Eight communities in B.C. have attained the status: Kamloops, Squamish, Lions Bay, Whistler, Port Alberni, Naramata, New Denver and Coquitlam.

Fines related to attractant legislation can range from $230 to $575.



trevor.hewitt@interior-news.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

BC Green Party leader visits Wet’suwet’en camps at heart of pipeline conflict

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada and First Nations

Calls for dialogue as Coastal GasLink pipeline polarizes some in northern B.C.

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast

Smithers only taxi company closing down

BV Taxi parking its cars at the end of January

Coastal GasLink repeats desire for meeting with hereditary chiefs

Coastal GasLink says they’re ready to meet with the hereditary chiefs at their convenience

B.C. Green Party interim leader to visit Wet’suwet’en camps

MLA Adam Olsen stands behind First Nations

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

B.C. landlord sentenced to two years in jail for torching his own rental property

Wei Li was convicted of intentionally lighting his rental property on fire in October 2017

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Most Read