On the chilly Remembrance Day long weekend, dozens of concerned Sunshine Coast residents and members of Stop Animal Brutality met with Gibsons Mayor Bill Beamish and Inspector Murray Smith, Sargeant Dean Miller, and Officer Leyland Klassen of the COS. At this meeting they discussed how citizens, the COS, local government, developers, waste management, and other groups can work together to reduce human-wildlife conflict to save the lives of bears and other wildlife on the Sunshine Coast.
At this meeting the Sunshine Coast Bear Alliance was founded. The group’s mission is to end human-bear conflict on the Sunshine Coast so that residents, bears and other wildlife, can harmoniously co-exist in the coastal community. The group invites anyone who is interested in volunteering and bringing their expertise and knowledge. Several committees have formed to achieve these goals:
- To educate our residents about living respectfully and safely with our coastal bear population.
- To work together with various levels of government organizations including the COS and Wildsafe BC to make meaningful changes to laws and regulations.
- To work together with Conservation Officers to develop and man a “Sunshine Coast Bear Help Line” telephone service answering calls from residents about bear activity and identifying high conflict locations.
- To establish a School Outreach Program (K-12) to cultivate a respectful and educated framework so young people become stewards of bears and other wildlife in our community.
- To collaborate with local governments and waste disposal providers to develop an optimal waste management system that insures the least opportunity for bear-garbage attractants.
- To eliminate the termination of any bear on our Sunshine Coast due to issues with garbage attractants, human conflict and/or disrespectful and unsatisfactory waste management disposal practices.
The group plans to create a model for co-existence with bears and to share this model province-wide and link all of the bear groups together, as well as help found more groups. For more information on the alliance check out the Facebook group
Stop Animal Brutality is pleased to see citizens banding together and donating their time and resources to protect their wildlife neighbours. Both groups actively work together to share information, strategies, and resources.