Introduced to residents at Christina Lake this year, the Bear Aware program aims to reduce conflict between roaming bears and people.
A part of the British Columbia Conservation Foundation, Bear Aware works through educating and co-operating with humans to stay conscious of their actions.
“This program aims to educate the residents of the community about attractants, potential conflict issues and how to prevent those things,” explained Grand Forks Conservation Officer David Webster at a recent Watershed Management Meeting.
“Whether it’s managing garbage with out-of-sight out-of-mind mentality, making sure garbage isn’t left out too early for pick up, managing fruit trees, picking up fruits, and not leaving other non-natural food sources out.”
Christina Lake usually averages 35 bear complaints per year, but this year has seen a large jump to over 260 complaints.
“We know we have bears active in the neighbourhood,” said Webster. “It was a big jump for the community and there were 24 bears put down at the Lake this year.”
Bears in urban situations tend to be younger, between two and three-year old adults and family units.
“That wasn’t the case at Christina Lake this year,” stated Webster.
“Ninety per cent of the bears we dealt with were large adult males, which isn’t something we normally see but that was the case.”
He added most of the bears that were causing problems were mostly large, healthy adult males.
“We just want to tie in how important it is for the community on how they can minimize and prevent some of these issues,” concluded Webster.
For more information on Bear Aware, visit the website bearaware.bc.ca.