A bear was killed on Vancouver Island earlier this month, and the Conservation Officer Service intends to trap and potentially kill another – all because of human activity.
The Tofino-Ucluelet Westerly News reported on the upsetting news over the weekend, noting that the bear killed on July 15 had entered unoccupied tents, and jumped on the hood of a car that people were in. Conservation Officer Steve Ackles attributed the bear’s behaviour to poorly managed attractants – in short, human activity.
Not far from the campgrounds where the first bear was killed, another bear has been seen rooting through garbage, and broke into a shed. On top of this, reports indicate he has been harder to scare off. A trap is set for this bear, though it’s not clear from the news report if the COS intends to kill him or relocate him.
CO Ackles said that the service will be issuing fewer warnings and more tickets – $250 for failing to secure wildlife attracts. But is it enough?
“Right after the news stories, everything’s cleaned up…It lasts a week or two weeks, then you see it fall down. It’s a 24-hour a day, 7- day a week, year-round effort we’ve got to be putting out,” he told the Tofino-Ucluelet Westerly News. “As somebody living in bear country, you should know the material in WildSafe and pass that along to the tourists. Don’t let tourists do the wrong things.”
The Fur-Bearers agree that locals need to do their part by following simple co-existence management techniques, which largely involve managing attractants. But the local government must also step up and institute or improve upon their own wildlife feeding or attractant by-laws, along with education and enforcement. It would also be advisable to set up a local tip line for residents – or tourists – to leave information about people putting bears in dangerous situations. And the provincial government must recognize that this problem is seemingly growing, and making sure that the Conservation Officer Service is properly funded and staffed so they are able to be more proactive, and less reactive.
At the end of the day, the people of British Columbia – and any other jurisdiction where wildlife conflict leads to lethal action against the animals – must step up and recognize we all have a role to play. If you see someone not properly managing attractants, feeding wildlife directly, or getting too close to the animals, please say something, and contact the appropriate enforcement agency.