Responding to recent requests by their partner communities and the Provincial Conservation Officer Service, the British Columbia Conservation Foundation (BCCF) is expanding its highly successful Bear Aware program to include education about other animals that come into conflict with humans in urban settings.
The new program, which will run under the title of WildSafeBC, seeks to reduce human-wildlife conflict through education, innovation and cooperation.
“Revelstoke Bear Aware will be working with this new program in Revelstoke this season and I will be the coordinator for both,” says local Bear Aware Coordinator Sue Davies.
“Our goal is trying to keep wildlife, wild – and communities safe,” Frank Ritcey, WildSafeBC’s provincial coordinator, said in a statement, adding that “much of what we learned through Bear Aware is transferable to the new program, but there is a lot of new ground to cover as well.”
He said animals such as deer, cougar and coyotes all “present different challenges.”
First, members of the public need to understand why the animals are showing up in urban settings and, secondly, what it takes to reduce conflicts with humans.
“One of the ways that we will help educate the public about the extent of human-wildlife conflicts within the province is through our new mapping initiative called the Wildlife Alert & Reporting Program (WARP). WARP displays a summary of weekly wildlife sightings and conflicts from around the province and can be viewed by going to www.bearaware.bc.ca/bearaware . “
People can learn more about the program at www.facebook.com/wildsafebc. Communities that do not have a local program can contact the BCCF firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about what it takes to get a program running in their area. To contact local Bear Aware Coordinator Sue Davies please call 250-837-8624.