By Janette Vickers
Revelstoke Bear Aware Coordinator
2010 was a very busy year for bears in and around Revelstoke, with sightings reported in every neighborhood. There were a total of 206 calls made to the Provincial Problem Wildlife phone line and to the Revelstoke Bear Aware phone line, compared with 42 calls in 2009. All of the calls and reports made this year were concerning black bears.
Revelstoke Bear Aware encourages reporting of all bear sightings to determine where to focus the Bear Aware message.
Five black bears were destroyed this year as a result of conflict with people. All were black bears that were habituated and food-conditioned to garbage, fruit trees or livestock. Although it would be preferable not to have any bears destroyed, five is less than the average of 7 per year since the Revelstoke Bear Aware began in 1996.
The top bear attractants in 2010 were garbage (64%), fruit trees (18%), livestock (5%), followed by pet food, outdoor freezers and fridges, compost, birdfeeders, and vegetable gardens.
Revelstoke Bear Aware had many successes in 2010:
- Fruit Tree Pruning Workshop: In May, participants learned about fruit tree pruning from The City of Revelstoke’s Arborist.
- Google Map: Residents can view an updated “Where The Bears Are” google map to see recent bear sightings.
- The Gleaning Project: This initiative saw many volunteers picking fruit to decrease bear attractants as well as donating fruit to Community Connections Food Bank. About 600 pounds of fruit was donated this year.
- City bear-proof garbage bins: Open garbage cans were replaced at many City recreation sites this year.
- Festivals and Community Events: Bear Aware attended many local events and festivals this year including the Fair Trade Festival, Chickadee Festival, Parks Day, and our Saturday Market.
- Presentations: The Bear Aware presented to summer camps, preschools as well as school groups.
- Door-to-Door: Bear Aware teamed up with Ministry of Forests to conduct a door-to-door education campaign. Over 800 residents were contacted, mostly in the South Revelstoke Area.
- Garbage Tagging: Residents who put garbage cans on the curb the nights before pick up may have had a “Bear Attractant” sticker placed on their garbage cans to remind them to store garbage properly.
- Electric Fencing Workshop: In November, participants learned how to safely set up permanent and temporary electric fences in bear country.
Revelstoke Bear Aware would like to thank Columbia Basin Trust, British Columbia Conservation Foundation, British Columbia Conservation
Corps, Shell Environment Fund, Canadian Pacific, and Revelstoke Community Foundation for the funding they provided. Thank you to Parks Canada, the Conservation Officer Service, The Ministry of Forests, and the City of Revelstoke for their valuable support. Also, thank you to our local media for their continued support in communicating the Bear Aware message to residents of Revelstoke. Finally, a big thanks to the many volunteers that made this year’s program so successful.
Although the bears are heading into their winter dens, Revelstoke Bear Aware will continue to work through the winter months. At this time of year the annual report is completed (soon to be seen on our website at www.revelstokebearaware.org) and funding requirements as well as work plans for next season are determined. This will ensure the Bear Aware message continues to reach the residents of Revelstoke including the many newcomers and visitors to our community.
Thanks for a great year, and to everyone that called in bear sighting and who did their best to secure bear attractants on their property.