The City says that in an effort to stem human-bear conflicts — nine bears were killed in about one week — it has increased bylaw enforcement patrols over the past month
Bylaw enforcement is usually initiated by citizen complaints, however in light of the recent bear killings the City has increased patrols and is proactively enforcing regulations in areas where bears have been reported, it said in a statement.
“Recent events have saddened and shocked our community, and triggered a renewed awareness around human wildlife conflict,” Mayor Mark McKee said in the statement, released late Wednesday afternoon. “Bears have always been a part of Revelstoke’s culture, we have a Bear Aware coordinator, good bylaws for disposal of garbage and consistent messaging, residents and visitors need to be extra responsible with securing their garbage and harvesting their fruit, and these are the two largest contributors to human wildlife conflict.”
The City has distributed more than 2,000 educational brochures to residents and businesses this month alone and is operating on a zero-tolerance policy for failure to obey the following garbage regulations, fining $100 per occurrence:
- A garbage container must, at all times, be maintained in a clean, dry, odour free and sanitary condition and receptacle must be covered securely with the lid;
- A garbage container shall be kept on the owner’s premises at all times and stored in a location not accessible by wildlife, except when placed on such curb or lane for the purpose of collection under this bylaw; and
- A garbage container shall be set out no earlier than 6 am on the day of collection.
Residents are encouraged to secure and lock up all potential food sources, which include food scraps and food-soiled papers, beverage containers, pet food, bird feed, diapers, grease barrels, petroleum products and chemical products. They must also immediately remove fallen fruit and pick fruit upon ripening and ensure that outdoor refrigerators or freezers are locked or inaccessible to wildlife.
Reducing wildlife attractants will keep residents safe and wildlife wild. Education and outreach has always been a priority and the City says it actively supports the Bear Aware program to educate the public. The City is working with the Chamber of Commerce to help businesses with information on how to properly store garbage and protect wildlife.
Revelstoke is experiencing an increase in the number of visitors to our community this year, educating them on how to deal with bears and their garbage is critical. The City has increased social media messaging and prepared brochures for the Visitor Information.
The statement said bears that become habituated to human food sources are euthanized because they can become aggressive. Relocating bears doesn’t work – often, bears don’t fare well in their new environment and many will walk dozens of miles to return to their old feeding grounds. BC Conservation Officers are working to protect residents from aggressive bears.
For more information about Bear Aware visit the Bear Aware Website or about the City’s garbage collection and disposal regulations visit revelstoke.ca
Bear sightings should be reported to the provincial Conservation Officer Service 24-hour toll-free hotline at 1-877-952-8277.