Bears get blamed, and sadly killed, for a lot of human-caused problems. And that’s why The Fur-Bearers are applauding the community of Revelstoke for taking action against the problem, instead of the bears.
The municipality was the location of a horrific week in 2016, when nine bears were killed by a conservation officer following conflicts. At the time, Officer Dan Bartol told the media that he was “extremely frustrated” as “this is a problem that is avoidable. I expect there are going to be more bears euthanized in Revelstoke. I'd love for people to change their actions immediately, but I don't think they are going to.”
Revelstoke is now exploring creating a by-law that would create enforcement and education opportunities when residents don’t clean up fallen fruit in their yards – a well documented attractant for black bears in the region.
"We are stepping up," Revelstoke mayor Mark McKee told the CBC. "We're reinforcing to people what they should be doing, playing their part keeping bears in the wild and keeping them safe."
Additionally, the municipality is petitioning the province to provide them with a local Conservation Officer to help in the enforcement and education, which is rather logical considering how many resources the province must throw at the area without offering preventative enforcement and education that fail to prevent problems to begin with.
The simple act of writing local by-laws can be enough to create change in a community experiencing conflict – and enforcement of by-laws can act as a significant step when education fails.
It is with great pleasure that we at The Fur-Bearers applaud Revelstoke’s efforts, as it shows the success of the message that most bear conflict is a human-caused problem that requires a change to human behaviour.
The Fur-Bearers are also happy to offer their support to any community seeking educational materials or co-existence programs – just contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office at 604-435-1850.