In partnership with the University of British Columbia, The Fur-Bearers will be soon working with a group of Applied Animal Biology students to better understand coexistence with urban black bears.
In the past 8 years, over 4,500 bears have been killed in British Columbia by the B.C. Conservation Officer (B.C. COS) due to alleged human-bear conflicts. There has been growing concern among individuals and municipalities that lethal force on B.C.’s urban bears is excessive and unnecessary. The result is a public mistrust of the B.C. COS and a refusal by some residents to call the service should a public safety problem arise.
Several non-profits are working to provide public education about bear coexistence, however there is a lack of understanding regarding the role of enforcement as it relates to fines and warnings to manage bear attractants.
The objective of this project is to understand public perceptions and mitigation strategies for current human-bear conflicts used in the Lower Mainland of B.C. This understanding will help inform municipalities of overall bear management strategies and can help to further develop an action plan that will prioritize non-lethal strategies for communities where the presence of bears may pose a concern.
The project outcomes will include 1: a developed resource for stakeholders highlighting the understanding public perceptions of bear management and enforcement strategies in the Lower Mainland; 2: the production of educational materials and information signage regarding mitigation strategies for human-bear conflicts; and, 3: a presentation to community partners and municipalities on the results of the public perception findings.
The Fur-Bearers would like to thank the University of British Columbia, the UBC Partnership Recognition Fund, Dr. Kristen Walker and Nadia Xenakis (MSc student) for their support.