Bears are emotional and go into a major funk when they lose their mothers

Situation unbearable

Conflicts between humans and bears continue to present a growing problem on the North Island,

Conflicts between humans and bears continue to present a growing problem on the North Island, the root cause of that conflict often being insecure human food and garbage.

It’s usually the same offenders that have a lackadaisical attitude towards this issue, and comments such as:  “There’s not an issue with bear populations here, so what if a few bears get shot.” I could say the same about humans. Education has been around for a few decades surrounding the issue of garbage habituated bears, it’s time the hammer is used to deal with offenders.

This past week the B.C. government gave the Wildlife Act teeth that would allow communities and authorities to issue $240 fines against those who fail to follow proper waste disposal practices.

At last years fall fair, 74 per cent of North Islanders surveyed by Bear Smart BC Society support offenders being ticketed, so will North Island communities follow through in punishing offenders?

In Port Hardy they’ve been striving towards earning Bear Smart Community Status by the B.C. Ministry of Environment.

Such status is positive for visitors coming to our region, and there could be some financial rewards, as the province looks at communities that have signed on to being carbon neutral, OCP’s with a vision, and provincial certification such as Bear Smart, which will assist in putting us at the head of the line for various grants and funding projects.

There’s another issue that may come into play — liability. To date we’ve been lucky on the North Island as we’ve not had a serious mauling or death caused by a habituated bear.  Every year in B.C. you read about individuals being mauled by human fed habituated bears, sooner or later it will occur here if we don’t clean up our act.  The stats on bear calls over the last sixyears reflect that bears know they can get an easy meal in certain North Island communities.

Bear calls over the past six years, starting in 2006 and ending 2011 (as of Nov. 17).

Port Hardy: 179-277-225-68-117-302

Port McNeill: 50-50-332-28-43-415

Port Alice: 44-32-82-38-13-43

As you can see by the stats, there are dips; usually this is where COs have dealt with aggressive bears, but the void they leave will be filled by other bears that will most likely become habituated because of our indifference to the issue.

We need to be aware of local businesses and residents that continue to leave garbage unnsecured, for they may be putting bears at risk and, just as importantly, members of your family. You need to inform the authorities and document the incidents in case any member of your community is mauled or killed by a habituated bear. There may be recourse going after the individuals in the court system. Sadly this may be the only way to get the message through.

Being Bear Smart is good for bears, good for people, good for community image, a potential bonus in applying for certain grants and funding, and allows our conservation Officers to deal with bigger environmental issues that concern our communities.

 

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

Just Posted

Mowi’s B.C. salmon farms achieve environmental certification from independent watchdog

Aquaculture Steward Council certification complies with 500 sustainability and social measures

Island Health provides Baby Beds for infants north of the Malahat

A safe place for baby to sleep is key to reduce sleep-related deaths

Author chronicles churches built by pioneers in the Salish Sea

B.C. author Liz Bryan preserving a little bit of pioneer history in her latest book

North Island College president to retire next year

North Island College’s president and CEO has officially announced his plans to… Continue reading

UPDATE: Canadian Ferry Association cautions against politicizing BC Ferry operations

Reasonable safety, not politicized safety way to go, Canadian Ferry Association says

Horgan says B.C. restart making gains as more people come out of their homes

B.C. announced the easing of more restrictions on businesses, recreation and travel last month

Conservatives say police should be called into investigate WE charity scandal

Trudeau is already under investigation by the ethics commissioner for potential conflict of interest

Amber Alert continues for missing Quebec girls, 6 and 11, and their father

Police issued the alert for Norah Carpentier, 11, and Romy Carpentier, 6, from Levis, Que.

Limit police access to lethal weapons in Indigenous communities: Justice Summit

Grassroots-organized National Indigenous Justice Summit was a free-to-attend two-day videoconference

Campaign aims to raise $50K for young family of deceased Vancouver Island skydiver

James Smith, 34, died July 5 following incident in Nanoose Bay

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

B.C. ports part of data integration project to protect marine ecosystems

The $1.2 M federally funded program will draw crucial baseline data from Canada’s three coastlines

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Most Read