Community coordinator encourages wildlife safety in her role

Wildsafe BC representative Thea Rodgers speaks on community engagement for wildlife protection

Wildsafe BC community coordinator Thea Rodgers presented to the Village of Radium Hot Springs Wednesday, November 22nd on the importance of promoting Wildlife Safety as well as providing an overview of her roles, responsibilities, and hours spent on her position.

The organization’s motto is “keeping wildlife wild — and communities safe” and it supports wildlife staying in the wild, thereby making communities safer, while preventing wildlife altercations, or harm from coming to them.

Ms. Rodgers is part of a program that was created by the BC Conservation Foundation, and is a spin off of the Bear Aware program that was started in 1999.

Her role includes keeping track of wildlife activity while educating the public through various outreach initiatives on how to prevent human-animal altercations.

According to Ms. Rodgers, the general idea in wildlife management is to keep an animal from becoming habituated in a domestic setting.

“Once an animal becomes habituated and shows aggression it becomes necessary to destroy it,” she said of the importance of locals taking precautions to keep attractants for wildlife to a minimum.

Gleaning fruit trees, or proper garbage management, including locking bins are part of a few things residents and business owners can do to help prevent wildlife issues.

As part of her report, Ms. Rodgers outlined that out of 500 hours, 250 were logged for Radium.

“If I could make a suggestion, if Radium decides to continue with the program, a part-time position might be considered to fill the role or you might consider creating a coordinator position solely for Radium,” she said.

Ms. Rodgers outlined that time split between Radium and her role as the coordinator for Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) made it difficult to spend as much time in certain areas as she would have liked.

Programs like Wildlife Alert Reporting Program (W.A.R.P), which is a new wildlife mapping program designed to track human-wildlife interactions across the province, have been utilized by Ms. Rodgers. The public can also track and log incidents of wildlife by accessing warp.wildsafebc.com/warp.

A shiny new set of reflective stickers have also been created by Wildsafe to put around town on garbage bins to remind people of the importance of proper garbage etiquette to help in the prevention of bear issues.

Bears pawing windows, aggressive deer, and turkeys destroying trees are a few of the problems that have been noted by Ms. Rodgers.

“We generally try to discourage people from encouraging these animals, we shouldn’t be encouraging habituation in the animals.”

For more information on Wildsafe BC and the role they provide in the community visit http://radiumhotsprings.ca/content/wildlife-safety.

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