The Deadliest Communities for Bears 2021 List is now available for residents and media to view, after records have been obtained through a Freedom of Information request and compiled by charitable organization The Fur-Bearers.
“Black bears are killed by the hundreds by government agents in British Columbia, frequently for being near humans or accessing human foods that were left accessible,” explains Aaron Hofman, Director of Advocacy and Policy at The Fur-Bearers. “It is important that communities where these bears are killed with extreme frequency are identified and addressed so underlying, systemic causes for negative encounters can be ended. Our Deadliest Communities list was created to try and put into perspective what many residents have decried: too many bears are dying, and not enough is being done about it.”
Deadliest Communities for Bears 2021
According to government statistics for 2021, the five deadliest communities for black bears in British Columbia are:
- Prince George: 36
- 100 Mile House: 22
- Quesnel: 19
- Burns Lake: 17
- Vernon: 16
In 2021, these five areas alone accounted for nearly 20% of all black bears killed in the province by conservation officers. These communities are not specific to municipal boundaries because of how the BC Conservation Officer Service (BC COS) records their incident reports. Between 2015-2021, the BC COS killed 3779 black bears. The full list is available at TheFurBearers.com.
“Every community on this list can be concerned about the ongoing trend of bears killed by conservation officers,” says Hofman. “It points to something being out of balance in the ecosystem, or a significant need for education and the implementation and enforcement of by-laws at the local level, as well as provincial enforcement.”
The Fur-Bearers is urging residents to contact their municipal representatives and request wildlife attractant by-laws be implemented, along with education and enforcement of said by-laws. The province, in its bid to reduce the number of calls to service for the BC COS, can support these efforts.
“If government agents and agencies are as distraught at the number of bears killed as they indicate in media, we certainly hope that they will use this list as an opportunity to speak to their superiors and key political figures behind making change happen,” Hofman says.
More information on wildlife attractant by-laws, community programs to reduce negative encounters, and educational materials on coexisting with bears is available at www.TheFurBearers.com.