In the last 10 days the BC Conservation Officer Service nearly caused the death of 2 black bear cubs from negligence. Black bear kills in 2019 were up 40% over 2018. Prevention and rehabilitation must be prioritized over killing to resolve human-wildlife conflict. We have launched a petition to the Chief Conservation Officer, Assistant Deputy Minister and Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and the Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations to demand policy change at the COS, as well as independent oversight so they are held accountable for their actions. For more information and to sign please visit http://chng.it/csFtTHrfvF
Alternatively, you can download and print a PDF version of the petition. Please email email@example.com for our mailing address.
Mayor Bill Beamish of the Town of Gibsons focused on co-existence with bears in this month’s “Talk of the Town” message from Council. He acknowledged that humans – residents, businesses, waste collection, the COS, and Council – must work together to change our behaviours so that easily accessible garbage, fruit windfall, bird feeders, dirty BBQs and other attractants do not create so-called “problem bears”. Read the full address here for the Mayor’s list of immediate actions you can take towards having “respect for their natural behaviour, as demonstrated by more thoughtful behaviour of our own”.
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.
As bears pack on weight for winter they have been attracted to outdoor compost bins as well as unpicked fruit trees on the Sunshine Coast, essentially encouraging bears to break into yards. Citizens must make an effort to co-exist with the wild animals that have called this area home for millenia, as well as ensure their own safety and that of their neighbours. Otherwise more often than not “a fed bear is a dead bear”. This article in BC Living lists a range of ways to discourage bears, including composting food scraps in an indoor worm bin compost system if possible, and only composting garden waste and lawn clippings in an outdoor bin. Read the full article here
Published Sept 30, 2019 on ctvnews.ca Environmental stewards of the Knight Inlet area just north of Vancouver Island have begun feeding grizzly bears after growing concerned with alarming trends among the local population.
Jake Smith, Guardian Watchman Manager for the Mamalilikulla First Nation says guardians have noticed serious problems with grizzlies and their food supplies since June.
“We’re really concerned about the bears. The bears have been starving because there’s a lack of salmon return in Hoeya Sound and Lull Bay,” said Smith.
Smith was with a group of volunteers who headed into the region on Sunday with 500 pink salmon that had been donated by the A-Tlegay Fisheries Society through the Quinsam River Salmon Hatchery in an effort to feed the bears. Read the full article here
Presented by the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, Capilano University, and North Shore Black Bear Society the BC Bear Day event provides a whole day to educate, inform and inspire you about British Columbia’s Bears.
FREE Family day session 11-4pm: Designed to inform and inspire children and families, there is everything from bear yoga, to face-painting, bear research class, an adventure in wildlife photography with local wildlife photographer Ian Harland, music, treats from Earnest Ice Cream, and fun activities from a host of community partners.
Speakers and panel discussion (6:30-8pm) (tickets available here) In the evening the event will shift gears with the main theme being co-existence. We will be welcomed by Charlene Aleck from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and then the Takaya dancers. The evening’s main speaker will be Doug Neasloss, Stewardship Director for the Kitasoo /Xai’xais Nation and lead guide for Spirit Bear Adventures. Following Doug, other experts will join a panel to discuss how we can advance effective co-existence with bears throughout BC.
Following the arrests of 3 Coquitlam residents who spoke out against destruction of a mother black bear and her two cubs, our affiliates at the Fur Bearers have launched a petition to MLAs and the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change calling for systemic changes to how community conflict with black bears is managed as deaths continue to rise, and signs of eroded public trust in the Conservation Officer Service become more apparent. Please add your voice to the shared call for: – the COS to employ preventative measures, give fines, and provide educational tools prior to lethal measures – third-party oversight be put into place to review and advise the actions of armed law enforcement agents – funding be made available to any municipality to increase by-law enforcement activities, specifically related to wildlife feeding and attractants – both the RAPP (Report All Pouchers and Polluters) line and by-law enforcement departments begin accepting anonymous information regarding by-law or provincial infractions that put wildlife and people at risk
On July 29, Colin Dowler of Quadra Island escaped an encounter with a grizzly bear in Ramsay Arm, an area of remote wilderness 180km northeast of Powell River. He was by himself on a logging road when he was attacked by, then used a knife to stab the bear and fend off the attack. He escaped on his bike to a nearby workcamp where he received first aid before being airlifted to Vancouver General. All available Conservation Officers for the Sunshine Coast region were dispatched to hunt down and destroy the bear. While we are grateful he did not sustain life-threatening or fatal injuries, his choice to enter alone into the remote wilderness resulted in the subsequent pursuit and destruction of the bear in remote grizzly country, which is literal overkill. This hiker went against common sense and the recommendations from the BC Government website: he took the risk to enter alone into remote grizzly country. This was not a case of an aggressive habituated bear entering a residential neighbourhood; this was a human who willingly entered grizzly country on his own with the increased risk of conflict. Again, this another case of overzealous unnecessary aggression towards wildlife by our supposed “Conservation” officers. We demand independent oversight of the COS, and reprimand of the commanding officers for the actions!
Stop Animal Brutality was notified by a Gibsons resident that a black bear had been left in a bear cage on July 30 (see photo below). It is believed the bear was captured after coming to the residential area after habituated to garbage and attractants left out by residents. Thankfully the weather was cool and overcast, and neighbours provided water to the animal. However, no Conservation Officers were available to immediately attend to the bear, as all had been deployed on what appeared to be a manhunt to destroy a grizzly bear that encountered and attacked a lone hiker in remote grizzly country 180km northeast of Powell River. Not a single officer could be left behind to relocate this black bear, which was left in the cage upwards of 16 hrs. We contacted Sergeant Dean Miller of the South Coast Region of the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, who confirmed that the bear was released.
Wildlife killing contests are unscientific, inherently inhumane, and morally indefensible. The government of British Columbia is currently allowing at least two such contests to take place, due to either a lack of legislation to prevent them, a lack of political will, or both. Animals will suffer and ecosystems will be damaged as a result of wildlife killing contests.
Visit The Fur Bearers to take action and tell decision makers and MLAs of British Columbia that just like trophy hunts, wildlife killing contests are not acceptable in 2019.
Sign the Petition
Join us in calling for a review of the hiring practices and for independent oversight of the BC Conservation Officer Service