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.
Published Oct 7, 2019 on thenarwhal.ca
Two investigations, released under Freedom of Information laws, show a government agency ignored best practices and available data when auctioning cutblocks in the Nahmint Valley — home to some of Vancouver Island’s last remaining stands of unlogged ancient forest — where clearcutting continues to this day.
Read the full article here
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
Stop Animal Brutality has received information via a Freedom of Information Act request that no fines were given in 2018 on Vancouver Island by the BCCOS. However, Doug Forsdick, the BC Chief Conservation Officer, previously stated in a telephone conservation that fines were in fact being handed out. Fines act to deter irresponsible behaviours that attract and eventually result in the killing of wild animals. As the saying goes, “a fed bear is a dead bear”. It is our responsibility to learn and adjust our behaviours to co-habit with wild animals, and the COS responsibility to enforce responsible behaviour to protect the province’s creatures.
BC wildlife is facing increasing threats to survival with climate change and decreasing food stocks. The true sustainability and health of the region’s creatures requires suitable habitat, which is being destroyed at an unprecedented rate by the rampant pillaging of the forestry, fracking, and mining industries. As such, Stop Animal Brutality is assembling a Fall 2019 roundtable meeting with interest groups that don’t often see eye-to-eye, but share the common desire to preserve habitat. Together we will join forces to push the BC government to protect habitat for the true conservation of our wildlife against the greedy, profit-driven resource extraction industry. If you group is interested to join, email us at StopAnimalBrutality@gmail.com
We are currently in talks with:
Guide Outfitters Association of BC
Commercial Bear Viewing Assocition of BC
BC Wildlife Federation
Outdoor Recreation Council of BC
Raincoast Conservation Foundation
A GoFundMe fundraiser has been launched to provide the best legal help possible for the three Coquitlam residents that were arrested for voicing their reasonable opposition to the killing of a mother bear and her two cubs. This legal case will matter for the future of all British Columbians, as we need to ensure all members of the public are protected and free to voice their concerns for each other and wildlife. It is vital that the “Coquitlam Three” receive the best legal defense possible. Please give what you can – anything beyond the needs for this case will be given to the Environmental Dispute Resolution Fund of Westcoast Environmental Law.