It has become a law of the universe for wildlife managers and advocates: food attracts animals. But despite immense advertising, marketing, public education and even significant fines, communities in bear country continue to struggle with the idea of safe waste disposal.
In the City of Vernon, WildSafe B.C. has stepped up the game.
The Vernon Morning Star reported on the hiring of Tessa Coulthard, a University of Victoria student, with funding from the city. Tessa’s job is pretty straight-forward: identify and educate homeowners who put out garbage overnight with easy-to-remove stickers.
Tessa has also gone door-to-door, letting residents know about recent bear sightings in their areas and providing education on other attractants such as bird feeders or unclean barbecues.
“People don’t understand their actions cause bears to stick around,” Tessa told the Morning Star.
It will be interesting to see the results of this extension of the WildSafe program and whether or not it creates a drop in reported human-bear conflict. This program also highlights the increasing awareness that it is humans, not wildlife, that are responsible for conflict.
After all, they’ve learned to live with us. Shouldn’t we learn to live with them?
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