A family of black bears in Trail. Photo: Jim Bailey

A family of black bears in Trail. Photo: Jim Bailey

WildSafeBC concerned about non-reporting of wildlife encounters

Wildlife encounters are down in some areas due to residents reluctance to report

It has been a strange year for everyone, even wildlife.

WildSafeBC coordinator Oscar White released the WildSafeBC annual report to Trail council last week, which summarizes incidents of wildlife encounters in populated areas of Trail and Rossland in 2020.

“Black bears are the most frequently reported wildlife in both Rossland and Trail and garbage remains the most reported unmanaged attractant,” said White.

One anomaly that concerned the coordinator was the low number of wildlife encounters due to an unwillingness of the public to report them.

“These calls are less frequent in Rossland as there is a reluctance to call the Conservation Officers Service [COS],” read the report. “This reluctance has affected the ability for WildSafeBC to gain valuable information about areas of conflict in the community.”

Rossland had 30 black bear reports, up slightly from last year, but considerably lower than the 61 calls made in 2017. According to reports only five encounters were caused by garbage attractants, down from the 21 reports in 2017.

“As a result, residents are waiting until conflicts are too much for them to handle and until bears have become food conditioned or human habituated.”

Meanwhile, it was a wild year in Trail with reports of moose and black bear strolling down Silver City streets, bears breaking into vehicles, and elk grazing in Gyro Park.

In May, drawn by garbage attractant in the trunk, a bear actually broke into a vehicle, then was trapped inside it, and RCMP were called to set it free.

In another case, a bus driver took video of a black bear checking out a garbage can in downtown Trail, as a resident sat waiting for a bus a few feet away, and another resident captured a moose running by the Handy Mart on Second Ave.

In one unfortunate case, police were forced to destroy a habituated bear after it tried to enter a local supermarket.

Related read: Trail police called to bear trapped in car

Trail and Rossland have had respective bylaws in place for many years, both stipulate that refuse must not be placed curbside before 5 a.m. on the day of collection. And having unsecured attractants, be it garbage or a hummingbird feeder, can result in a $230 fine.

In 2020, Trail residents made a total of 126 black bear reports to COS, substantial, but less than the 220 bear conflict calls made in 2016.

It was also unusual, that no grizzly bear or deer were reported, and only one coyote and three cougars.

Most conflicts were caused by poorly stored garbage, bird feeders, and fruit left on trees.

A total of 32 bears were reported getting into Trail residents’ garbage, an increase over 2019, but less than the high of 84 reported in 2016.

June was the busiest month for black bear reports with 34 in Trail. Rossland reported eight bear encounters for the same month, down significantly from 34 in June, 2017.

“In 2020, several bears were reported to be damaging property and remaining in neighborhoods due to this unmanaged attractant,” said White. “Although the majority of these calls were made from Trail residents, this is still a concern in Rossland.”

Despite the restrictions brought on by the coronavirus, WildSafeBC still managed to deliver a number of educational programs.

The WildSafe Ranger program introduced youth between the ages of four to 12 to the concept of human-wildlife conflict. The programs were held outside with physical distancing protocols, and more than 100 youth from three different organizations became WildSafe Rangers and received kits over the summer.

While their normal engagement with the public was limited due to the cancellation of most events, WildSafeBC was able to give a bear spray workshop to Rossland summer camp counselors, and a wildlife awareness and safety presentation to ESL residents, arranged by CBAL.

They also look forward to continuing with their WildSafe Business Pledge Program and the Bare Campsite Program, which started this year.

WildSafeBC has a number of recommendations to help avoid conflicts between residents and wildlife, including securing garbage and removing fruit from trees.

Education is a priority, as is encouraging the public to call COS when conflicts first arise to avoid human habituation or food conditioning.

“We have been trapping bears that are a direct threat to public safety, and those that are causing significant damage to property, we will trap and destroy,” Conservation Officer Blair Thin told the Times in a June interview.

“We just can’t put the wild back into these bears. They won’t go from eating Big Macs to eating huckleberries. Unfortunately for the bear, it’s their downfall.”

Report wildlife encounters by calling the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277 or report online at https://forms.gov.bc.ca/environment/rapp/

Related read: COS urges residents to be safe and keep wildlife wild in Greater Trail



sports@trailtimes.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

City of TrailWildlife

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

 

A family of black bears stroll down the fairway at Redstone golf course. WildSafeBC encourages residents to report wildlife before it is too late. Photo: Jim Bailey

Just Posted

The Quartz Creek watershed is located in the area behind the small community of Ymir south of Nelson. Photo: Tyler Harper
Timber companies swap management of controversial Ymir watershed

Fruitvale’s ATCO Wood Products is now overseeing Quartz Creek

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin makes preparations at Toronto’s mass vaccination clinic, Jan. 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
3 deaths, 234 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

One death connected to outbreak at Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital, where 20 patients and 28 staff have tested positive

Zaudanawng “Jay-Dan” Maran in his Creston home. Hanging on the wall behind him is a logo of Kachin’s Manaw festival. Photo: Aaron Hemens
From Myanmar to Creston: The story of a refugee

In October 2007, Zaudanawng “Jay-Dan” Maran and his friends encountered a woman being sexually assaulted by two Myanmar soldiers.

The trial of Harry Richardson began Monday at the Nelson courthouse. File photo
Trial of man accused of shooting RCMP officer near Argenta in 2019 begins

Harry Richardson is facing five charges in a Nelson courtroom

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

Kamloops This Week.
48 COVID-19 cases and one death associated with outbreak at Kamloops hospital

One of the 20 patients infected has died, meanwhile 28 staff with COVID-19 are isolating at home

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

A Kelowna couple welcomed their Nooner baby in December. (Flytographer)
Kelowna couple welcomes baby girl from Hotel Zed Nooner campaign

Nicole and Alex will now have 18 years of free stays at the hotel

Kyrell Sopotyk was drafted by the Kamloops Blazers in 2016 and played two seasons with the Western Hockey League club. (Photograph By ALLEN DOUGLAS/KTW)
Kamloops Blazer paralyzed in snowboarding accident sparks fundraiser for family

As of Jan. 24, more than $68,000 had been raised to help Kamloops Blazers’ forward Kyrell Sopotyk

(Pixhere photo)
B.C. dentists argue for COVID-19 vaccine priority after ‘disappointing’ exclusion from plan

Vaccines are essential for dentists as patients cannot wear masks during treatment, argues BCDA

Most Read