Relocation of bears only one option of many in conflict

A northern Ontario community is hoping relocation of bears could become a local standard once again, after two cubs were killed simply for being without their mother.

According to The Atikokan Progress, the two juvenile bears were lost in town, and without their mother were unable to find their way out. Two other bears, both believed to be cubs, were killed in September by OPP officers responding to calls.

Over two years ago, the province got out of the business of bear relocation. Since then, dealing with potential conflict situations has fallen to municipalities and police services.

The town is now exploring options for managing these situations with relocation efforts – be it at the municipal level or some other level.

While relocation is an important factor in mitigating conflict situations, it is but one of many tools available to communities.

Education is a key factor – teaching residents how to prevent and appropriately respond to conflict. In addition to that, creating proper by-laws for feeding of wildlife, both intentionally and unintentionally, is vital. But by-laws only work when enforcement is properly in place.

The Tri-City News in Port Coquitlam, BC, reported recently that their local conservation officers and city workers are working hard to hand out tickets and educational materials – primarily related to safe waste management in light of bear calls.

Bears are learning to live with us – it’s only right that we learn to live with them.

Photo by Tracy Riddell

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