Funds provided to reduce human-wildlife conflicts

The province has provided $275,000 to help reduce human-wildlife conflicts in British Columbia.

The province has provided $275,000 to help reduce human-wildlife conflicts in British Columbia.

The money was awarded to WildSafeBC and will be used to provide education and increase awareness.

Throughout the province, 28 coordinators will provide presentations to community groups, schools and residents to reduce possible conflicts.

“It’s everyone’s responsibility to take steps to manage human-wildlife conflicts,” said Mary Polak, Minister of Environment.

“We share our communities with a wide range of wildlife, and taking simple steps, such as putting away garbage and pet food, can help lessen the chances of such conflicts by keeping wild animals wild. WildSafeBC is an invaluable resource that helps promote awareness and share tips with communities across the province.”

Locking up garbage, picking ripe fruit and installing sensor lights are some of the ways to discourage wildlife in urban areas.

Zoe Kirk, WildSafeBC Community Coordinator for the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen, said wildlife education will be provided in the regional district, especially in Princeton and Summerland.

In both communities, bear encounters have been ongoing problems.

“People are doing the same things that attract wildlife in both communities,” Kirk said.

So far this year, there has been one bear conflict in Summerland, a lower number than in previous years. However, there have been other bear sightings as well.

In past years, bear encounters happened frequently in Naramata, but measures have been taken to reduce the interactions.

Today, Naramata is one of seven B.C. communities designated as Bear Smart. More than 20 others are actively pursuing Bear Smart status.

“It is always nice to see when communities take a proactive, rather than a reactive, approach to dealing with human-wildlife conflict,” said Frank Ritcey, provincial WildSafeBC coordinator.

“Our program has expanded throughout the province and we encourage everyone to help us keep wildlife wild and communities safe.”

 

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