The ongoing evolution of Wildlife Aware

It’s not just about bear or deer anymore; it’s about cougars, skunks, raccoons, chickens …

  • Dec. 14, 2012 8:00 p.m.

Carolyn Grant

Shaunna McInnis of East Kootenay Wildlife Aware visited Kimberley City Council this week, bringing along information about her program and advising Council that she would be approaching them for funding at a later date.

She explained that the Wildlife Aware program evolved from Bear Aware as urban wildlife problems changed.

“Bear Aware grew in the late 1990’s when Kimberley was in a bear crisis mode similar to what we now face with deer,” she said. “And while bear and deer are still the most visible in most towns, there are skunks in Cranbrook, raccoons in Kimberley. And there are cougars — there have been lots of sightings lately.”

It is because there are so many different types of wildlife in many municipalities at present that Bear Aware had to broaden its approach, she said. And she is hoping to find enough funding to operate a longer season.

“Starting in late May and finishing in autumn does meet the needs,” McInnis said. “There are still bears active now.

“Ideally the program would run year round with long term financial commitment from several communities.”

The major problem is still attractant, garbage being the major one. McInnis believes that the availability of a steady food source (garbage) may be what’s preventing bears from hibernating earlier.

“If they have a steady food source, they won’t go to sleep,” she said. “They are finding cases of bears not going to sleep at all in Whistler.”

Another surprise attractant in Kimberley, especially for cougars, is chickens.

“There are lots of chickens in town. They are not allowed but they are there. Chickens are huge as far as attractant go. There are also bees.”

But the biggest issue is garbage.

“Garbage is such a huge attractant. The problem with garbage is getting worse with deer and even raccoons.”

McInnis believes that the problem could be solved by bear-proof bins like Canmore provides. these bear proof dumpsters are placed throughout the City and residents take their garbage to them rather than set it out for curbside collection.

“In the 13 years that Canmore has had communal bins, they haven’t had a single incident. Kimberley’s trucks are equipped to use these bins,” she said.

Just Posted

COTR Avalanche season begins with two wins for women, two losses for men

The College of the Rockies Avalanche volleyball season opened this weekend with… Continue reading

CP Holiday Train to stop in Cranbrook

Terri Clark will be the feature performer on Wed., Dec. 11 at the CP Station in Cranbrook

RCMP search for Sparwood man wanted on numerous warrants

Twenty-nine-year-old John Garszczal is wanted by police

RCMP searching for stolen trailer and off-road vehicle

Police are investigating a report of a stolen off-road vehicle and trailer… Continue reading

Second young woman dies after rollover crash near Williams Lake

‘Someone’s going to get her heart, which is awesome, because she has the best heart in the world’

Google searches for ‘how to vote’ surge on Election Day

Interest spikes despite social media campaign by Elections Canada

Alberta man pleads guilty, fined for hunting without a licence in North Island

It’s the responsibility of each hunter or angler to know whether they are considered a B.C. Resident.

B.C. mayor apologizes for removal of Queen’s portrait from council chambers

‘I prefer to be inclusive of the many aspects of our history’

Alcohol a possible factor in crash that killed 17-year-old girl near Williams Lake

A pickup truck left the road and rolled over on Highway 20 on the weekend

Rare bird spotted in Victoria draws enthusiasts from across the continent

It’s the first time a yellow-browed warbler has been reported on the mainland of North America

B.C. woman must pay $1,000 after unleashed dog bites another

Owner should never have left Bibi unattended, tribunal member wrote

Climate activist Greta Thunberg’s mural defaced in Edmonton

The eyes on the portrait were blacked out

Most Read