CO’s in South Okanagan getting the ‘bear’ facts out

The campaign to educate the public on bear attractants is moving ahead slowly

While it’s an ongoing process, the work of B.C. Conservation Officer Service members dealing with bear attractant management is beginning to pay off.

“It’s still in the delivery phase,” said CO Sgt. James Zucchelli about the province-wide crackdown on those who don’t comply with regulations regarding attractants such as garbage and fruit. “We still have a lot of non-compliance out there, it has not gone away at all, we still have bears in communities that are attracted to peoples’ garbage.

“It’s not an overnight situation that’s going to be resolved, but we are definitely getting the message out.”

READ MORE: ‘Garbage-fed bears are dead bears’ – Penticton conservation officer

The campaign that began in September involves officers literally going door to door and, where necessary, issuing warnings and tickets. It has now been extended to run until the end of November.

There has also been a push by the service to get municipalities and regional districts to get on board with enforcement from their end.

“Princeton for example, bylaw (officers) there is going out and has issued several warnings under their legislation and we were able to follow up with the people after the fact it’s working well in some of the smaller communities but it’s just an ongoing battle with the larger ones,” said Zucchelli. “Garbage kills bears and the CO service is trying to engage the community to get on board with attractant management so we don’t end up with garbage-conditioned black bears that are creating a public safety threat that we need to manage.”

READ MORE: Garbage attracts bears, put it away or face fines: B.C. conservation officers

One community he pointed to that is very much on board is Naramata.

Oct. 23 from 10:25 to 11:30 a.m. at Naramata Elementary School there will be a community celebration for being designated Bear Smart for past years, one of only seven in the province to achieve that honour.

A number of dignitaries and community members will be on hand for the formal announcement of whether Naramata will retain the title.

There will be a traditional welcome followed by a songs and short speeches by Naramata Elementary School students, followed by the announcement and even some cake.


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