photo submitted Andrew Otto Artavia is Vernon’s new WildSafeBC Coordinator. Andrew Otto Artavia

WildSafe doubles efforts in Vernon

The WildSafe program in Vernon wants to educate the community on wildlife conflict

Vernon’s new WildSafeBC Coordinator Andrew Otto Artavia is set to keep the community safe, whether it’s to do so during work or play.

It’s Artavia’s first year in Vernon but he plans to educate and progress the community’s knowledge of wildlife safety by going door-to-door and speaking with people directly.

“There’s a lot of activity in Vernon,” said Artavia.

He said last month’s wildlife versus human interaction has doubled from what it’s been in previous years and urges people to just stay calm in these situations and make a lot of noise when outside.

WildSafeBC program’s objectives are to reduce human-wildlife conflict through education, innovation and cooperation, such as the proper way to treat a home’s garbage disposal system.

As a precaution, Artavia recommends people to always carry bear spray with them when going outside.

“Bring bear spray. Whether it’s a bear or a deer, you just want to stay cautious,” said Artavia.

There has been a couple of reported deer attacks in the area in the last few months, one of which had Terri McKay’s dog injured after he was kicked and bloodied by the deer’s hooves.

Deer become very “habituated” when near human-communities for too long, and Artavia said the call for better knowledge with how we “grow” brings in more deer and wildlife.

“It’s such a warm area, wildlife is attracted to the orchards,” said Artavia.

Artavia says the solution is to not have the wildlife’s desired food, which will prevent the wildlife from coming into the city.

WildSafeBC is also working on maintaing connections with City of Vernon, increasing followers on its Facbook page and attending all major events and festivals.