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

Mayoral results from across B.C.

Voters in 162 municipalities in B.C. set to elect mayor, council, school board and more

Every vote counts: 10 tightest races in B.C.’s municipal elections

Peachland saw their election decided by just one vote

Voter turnout trending lower

Initial numbers appear to be significantly down from last election cycle in 2014

UPDATED: Bear euthanized after incident near Wycliffe regional park

A bear has been euthanized after an attack on a ATV rider… Continue reading

RCMP thank public for help locating missing man

RCMP are thanking the public and volunteers for help in locating a… Continue reading

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

A Doctrine and a Royal Proclamation: Part II

Rev. Yme Woensdregt Last week, I expanded what I had written previously… Continue reading

‘Who the hell is Ferdy Belland?’

Local bass player joins nationally renowned rock star’s band

The post-truthiness world

Remember back in the innocent days of pre-2016 when Steven Colbert coined… Continue reading

Canada Post union announces rotating strikes in four Canadian cities

Mail will still be delivered but it will be delayed

B.C. VIEWS: Residents have had enough of catering to squatters

Media myth of homeless victims offends those who know better

B.C. man sets new Canadian marathon record at Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Cam Levins ran it in two hours nine minutes 25 seconds

B.C. Liberals’ hopes high as Nanaimo by-election approaches

Historically safe NDP seat vacated by long-time MLA Leonard Krog

Leaving B.C.’s electoral reform to a referendum is ‘ridiculous’: professor

B.C. voters getting ballots in the mail on proposal to change electoral system

Most Read