2014 was an extremely busy year for Revelstoke Bear Aware, Coordinator Sue Davies told City Council on Tuesday.
“There were 302 reports concerning black bears and three reports concerning grizzly bears, totalling 305 reports made to the RAPP line and to Revelstoke Bear Aware,” she said during a presentation of the organization’s 2014 annual report.
Conservation Officers, sent here from Vernon or Golden, destroyed nine black bears, and a resident destroyed one further black bear after it broke into a residence. Two black bears were relocated. No grizzly bears were destroyed or relocated this season.”
Davies said garbage remains the No. 1 attractant for bears, followed very closely by unmanaged fruit trees. Cherry trees were especially problematic last year because they bore abundant fruit at approximately the same time that the wild huckleberry crop failed in the lower elevations of the valley.
“Pet food, birdfeeders, compost, outdoor freezers and fridges, grease barrels, hazelnut trees, camping coolers, vegetable gardens, and grain on railway tracks were also reported as attracting bears this season,” the annual report said. “In addition, there were four reported instances of bears attracted to livestock and livestock feed, in at least two cases chickens were killed by bears. Beehives and dirty BBQ’s were not reported as bear attractants this season.”
There were 24 instances of bears damaging property, ranging from pushing over fences to ripping apart storage sheds. On 18 separate occasions bears entered or attempted to enter buildings. There were eight instances of bears acting aggressively towards humans or their pets.
The Annual Report said Bear Aware recommends the following actions for the upcoming year:
- Bear Aware continues to implement an outreach program to educate the residents of Revelstoke and newcomers about reducing human-bear conflict in bear country;
- Bear Aware continues to work with the City on the Solid Waste Collection Strategy;
- City of Revelstoke creates a written plan to guide Revelstoke toward a bear-resistant solid waste collection system;
- City of Revelstoke implements a new bear-resistant solid waste collection system and supplies bear-clip bins to every residence in Revelstoke;
- If the new bear-resistant solid waste collection system is implemented, Bear Aware works with the City to provide education to residents;
- Bear Aware requests that the City initiate a wildlife attractant bylaw for Revelstoke covering garbage, fruit, birdfeeders, outdoor fridges and freezers, barbeques, pet food, chickens and chicken feed, compost, and beehives;
- Provided a wildlife attractant bylaw is adopted, Bear Aware works with the City to add existing unmanaged fruit trees to a GIS map, to allow for better monitoring;
- Provided a written plan is in place to guide Revelstoke toward a bear-resistant solid waste collection system and the above mentioned bylaws are implemented, Bear Aware and the City apply to the province for Bear Smart status;
- Bear Aware encourages the City to remove unmanaged cherry trees from Woodenhead Park and Big Eddy Park, and to manage the flowering or fruiting of the specimen cherry tree at Kovach Park;
- Bear Aware regularly updates its website, Facebook page, and the bear sightings map;
- The City ensures that all new housing developments and subdivisions be required to design for and construct centralized bear-resistant garbage bins;
- Bear Aware continues to target education to new residents;
- Bear Aware continues to work with the Wildfire Interface committee to identify areas within the city that have a high potential for both bear security cover and forest fires;
- Bear Aware continues to expand the Adopt-a-Fruit-Tree program and to work in conjunction with the Community Connections Food Bank and the Local Food Initiative to expand the Gleaning Project;
- Bear Aware continues to foster a good relationship with Revelstoke Mountain Resort development team to ensure that development is bear-resistant in terms of solid waste, recycling, and other bear attractants;
- Bear Aware, the City of Revelstoke and the CSRD continue to lobby the provincial government for long term funding to provide for sustainability of the program;
- Bear Aware continues to lobby for the return of at least one Conservation Officer stationed in Revelstoke.
However, that last recommended action likely won’t bear fruit. Environment Minister Mary Polak wrote at the end of January to City Council denying its request from late last year that she appoint a new Conservation Officer for Revelstoke.
Please click here to read the minister’s letter.
Please click here to read the Revelstoke Bear Aware Society’s complete Annual Report for 2014.