Another active year has nearly drawn to a close for the WildSafeBC Kimberley-Cranbrook program, in which they provided assistance on numerous wildlife conflicts throughout RDEK Area C, plus plenty of education on living with the animals that we share the region with.
Community Coordinator Danica Roussy said she is, “grateful for the generous support of the British Columbia Conservation Foundation, the Province of BC, the Conservation Officer Service, the Columbia Basin Trust, the Regional District of East Kootenays, the City of Kimberley and the City of Cranbrook for their ongoing support and everyone who has made an effort to prevent human-wildlife conflicts this year.”
For Cranbrook, in the period spanning Jan. 1 to Sept. 30 there were 317 wildlife-related reports, with deer making up the vast majority of that with 218 reports.
Roussy explained that many of the conflicts with the deer involved does with fawns and dogs, and most of these occurred between May and September. However, reports from September and October stemmed predominantly from bucks as it was their breeding season.
”Many of the callers were concerned citizens while out walking on city streets and were approached by aggressive does,” Roussy explained.
”Many of the reports came from the around the Quad Ball Fields/Willowbrook Drive, 11th St. S area as well as along 14th – 16th Avenue South. There was considerable deer activity reported near the East Kootenay Regional Hospital. Many of the complaints were about aggressive does protecting their fawn(s) and dogs on leash.”
There was also 46 black bear reports throughout the year, with black bear activity particularly high in the Cranbrook Community Forest and surrounding neighbourhoods as well as the Jim Smith Lake area. August and September saw the highest volume of black bear reports, at nine and 19, respectively.
Livestock was the most reported attractant followed by garbage and residential fruit trees, according to the WildSafeBC report.
There were eight grizzly bear reports, from outside city limits in Gold Creek and near King Street and the Wycliffe area.
Additionally there were 22 elk reports and three cougar reports over the course of the year.
Skunks, raptors and coyotes accounted for some of the other wildlife reports the organization received in 2021.
For Kimberley and the surrounding communities of Meadowbrook, Wycliffe, Moyie, Wasa, Fort Steele, Wardner and Bull River there was a total of 279 wildlife reports made to WARP, with deer and black bear accounting for the majority.
There were 141 deer reports, again primarily regarding aggressive does protecting fawns from dogs, and 103 black bear reports. May, June and September had the highest number of black bear reports. Garbage remained the highest reported attractant, followed by other, which includes freezers, compost, pets and pet food, and then residential fruit trees and berries.
There was also 11 grizzly bear reports, the lowest number since 2016, plus one cougar report and 10 elk reports.
The remaining reports, classified as “other,” mainly included fox and coyote.
Roussy said she was able to get a lot accomplished this season, including a great deal of outreach work with the intent of preventing wildlife conflicts in the community.
These included Wildlife Ranger Program presentations, bear behaviour and bear spray presentations, door to door outreach, attendance at public events and social media presence, and much more.
Wildlife signage was put up in high-conflict areas, collaboration occurred between WildSafeBC and the area’s Conservation Officers and Wildlife Biologist on mapping aggressive deer, wild turkey and bear spray brochures were developed.
WildSafeBC also worked to incorporate Ktunaxa presence into their presentations by creating QR coding.
During the organization’s off-season over the winter months, wildlife conflicts can still be reported to the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277 and urgent wildlife questions may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also follow WildsafeBC Kimberley-Cranbrook on Facebook for updates, tips and other information.