The Bear Aware program in the Village of Radium Hot Springs and Invermere has a new co-ordinator in Crystal Leonard.
Bear Aware is a community educational program that strives to reduce human-bear conflicts. The main focus of the program is to reduce bear attractants such as garbage, fruit trees, compost, bird feeders, and pet food in order to reduce the number of bears feeding in our communities.
Leonard is excited about having the chance to work with the public so people understand the risks involved when wildlife and humans meet.
“For the most part people are really receptive. They like learning about wildlife and things they can do to not cause issues, we are in the heart of the wilderness and people understand that,” Leonard said.
She did add that one of the huge problems is that bears are always looking to eat and find sources for food, so if they find an easy source in a town, a bear will use it.
“They are so smart that once they get into one garbage can they will keep coming back to that exact same spot all the time.”
Leonard will be trying to get out to local schools and have talks with other organizations to share information with local residents and people visiting the area.
The British Columbia Conservation Foundation’s Bear Aware Program gratefully thanks the Ministry of Environment and The Columbia Basin Trust for funding in 2011.
Bear Aware has been active in over 30 communities in British Columbia since 1998. The mission is to reduce human-bear conflict through education, innovation, and co-operation.
Here are some quick tips on how to limit interactions with the animals: Store garbage inside until day of pick-up, take down bird feeders during bear season (April to November), pick fruit as it ripens, don’t let fruit fall to the ground, and clean barbecues after every use.
Check out the Bear Aware website at www.bearaware.bc.ca for other tips and solutions. Please report a bear sighting, or any incidents involving a bear through the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.
For more information, please contact Crystal Leonard, Bear Aware Community Co-ordinator at 250-342-9281 ext.227 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.