New wildlife bylaw toolkit empowers communities

Photo by Tom Strudley / Getty Images
A black bear (Ursus americanus). Black bears can be found from coast to coast in Canada. Photo by Tom Strudley / Getty Images

A free Wildlife Attractant Bylaw Toolkit is now available to municipalities and concerned residents across British Columbia, with the goal of reducing negative encounters between humans and bears.

The Toolkit, developed by the Get Bear Smart Society, a member of the BC Bear Alliance (of which The Fur-Bearers is also a member), is a result of a multi-stakeholder collaboration and captures the common goal of supporting communities in their efforts to manage and reduce anthropogenic food sources. An average of 589 black bears plus 35 grizzlies are killed by provincial authorities every year as a result of preventable negative encounters with humans or their property. This doesn’t include bears that are killed by residents, die in motor vehicle accidents or who are shot by hunters.

“Creating a wildlife attractant bylaw is inherently within the scope of local government responsibility,” says Sylvia Dolson, co-chair for the BC Bear Alliance and Executive Director of the Get Bear Smart Society. “But there hasn’t been a comprehensive resource for municipalities to access to outline the need for attractant bylaws and the steps to implementation and enforcement. This toolkit will fill that void and help community leaders reduce negative encounters with wildlife and support human coexistence with nature.”

The toolkit is robust, including sections on:

  • Why wildlife attractant bylaws are necessary
  • Methods to reduce human-bear interactions
  • First Nation bylaw considerations
  • Considerations for presenting to a council or board
  • Sample bylaws with detailed explanations
  • A complete reference list.

“We’re excited to share this toolkit and work with municipalities, community leaders, and environmental advocates across the province,” says Dolson. “While the toolkit was originally designed for BC, it is our hope that the toolkit will support communities across North America as they move towards becoming more bear smart.”

The Wildlife Attractant Bylaw Toolkit will be found on the websites of the Get Bear Smart Society and the BC Bear Alliance and its members. WildSafeBC and the BC Ministry of Environment will be posting the toolkit within the Bear Smart Community program information as an additional resource.

Anyone interested in learning more about the Wildlife Attractant Bylaw Toolkit is encouraged to visit www.BearSmart.com/toolkit.

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