This is the first summer that Kyle Edworthy has been operating the WildSafeBC program in Golden, and he gave a presentation in front of Town Council on July 16 to let them know how it is going.
“We are not a ‘save the bears’ campaign. Our goal is to reduce human/wildlife conflict,” said Edworthy.
In the past the program was called Bear Aware, and as the name suggests, focused on bears. The new WildSafeBC program incorporates bears, coyotes, cougars, deer, and in some regions, rattlesnakes.
Edworthy says it is important to be as proactive as possible rather than reactive, where they have to resort to things like relocation or the destruction of bears. That is why education is such a major component of the program.
Provincial programs such as this have been effective, as the number of bears destroyed today is half of what it was 10 years ago.
So far this year, Edworthy has been at several public events, such as the Farmers’ Market, spreading information, and has personally visited 200 homes in Golden.
He has been providing people with information about attractants, such as fruit trees, bird feeders, and particularly garbage cans. He has noticed some garbage cans being left out the night before garbage pick-up, and has found that those locations coincide with bear sightings.
Some of his goals for the coming year are to mitigate some of the garbage attractants by working towards getting community garbage bins for some of the trailer parks around town, as well as working towards replacing the stone garbage cans around town, which are not bear proof.