Children at a Vernon Recreation Complex mini-camp listen as Tessa Coulthard shares some safety information about reducing wildlife-human conflict.

Children at a Vernon Recreation Complex mini-camp listen as Tessa Coulthard shares some safety information about reducing wildlife-human conflict.

Bear conflicts surface

It is expected that there will be more reports of bears in conflict with humans in the fall months.

A slow summer for bear activity could pick up.

According to Vernon’s WildSafeBC program ambassador Tessa Coulthard, it is expected that there will be more reports of bears in conflict with humans in the fall months.

“In preparation for this, residents are advised to pick all fruit as it ripens and clear away windfalls, remove bird feeders until the wintertime, and keep garbage in a secure environment until the morning of collection,” said Coulthard.

The program ambassador is wrapping up her summer work aimed at reducing human-wildlife conflict and thanks the residents of Vernon for their support and cooperation in properly managing wildlife attractants.

Between May 1 and July 28, there have been 68 reports of bears in the area, with 48 reports recorded in May alone (includes both sightings and conflicts). Of those 68 reports of bears in the area, 14 involved garbage and seven involved bird feeders.

The ambassador and her volunteers visited more than 300 homes in many different neighbourhoods this season to speak with residents about human-wildlife conflict, and tagged more than 90 garbage cans that were left out overnight.

“Garbage is still the number-one black bear attractant in Vernon,” said Coulthard, as it accounts for more than half the calls made to the Conservation Officer Service reporting line.

This summer, WildSafeBC worked to reduce the attractant and attended various events in Vernon, such as the Vernon Farmers Market and the Sunshine Festival, and visited several elementary school classrooms to speak about wildlife and wildlife safety.

Coulthard put up posters and went door to door in areas with bear activity, speaking to residents about their attractants. You may have also found a yellow “bear attractant” sticker on your garbage can from the WildSafeBC ambassador, if your garbage was left out the night before garbage collection.

For more information on species and attractant management, visit wildsafebc.com and like the WildSafeBC Vernon page on Facebook. To report a wild animal in conflict, call the Conservation Officer Service reporting line at 1-877-952-7277.