By Thea Rodgers
WildSafeBC Community Coordinator, Radium and RDEK Area F & G
A breeding-age male black bear was trapped in the Radium area last week and has been relocated to an out of town drainage area. This bear had been getting into several unsecured garbage bins around Radium over the previous few days. Fortunately, it is still showing signs of wariness towards humans, and did not have a previous history of contact with garbage or with people in the local area.
Sgt. Andrew Milne from the BC Conservation Officer Service (COS) trapped and immobilized the bear in order to assess the bear’s health and age, as well as attach an ear tag for identification purposes. This bear is a candidate for long-distance relocation (greater than 10 kms) because of several key factors. He has not displayed any signs of aggression towards people, the COS has no previous conflict history with the bear, and he is a healthy bear with a good fat supply so has a better chance of being able to survive once relocated.
Unhealthy bears are in danger of starvation after relocation, especially this time of year when the majority of berries and grasses are drying up and temperatures are dropping. Due to his good health, this bear also has a better chance of being able to defend himself from other bears he might encounter once relocated into their territory.
As a result of Radium residents and businesses calling into the RAPP line early and frequently about sightings and encounters with this bear, the Conservation Officers were able to intervene in a timely matter and while the bear was still a suitable candidate for relocation.
It’s important to understand that bear relocation is rarely successful. It’s highly likely this bear will return to an area with human presence and attempt to access unsecured food sources (such as fruit or garbage) as it moves into an autumnal “feeding-frenzy” state, called hyperphagia, before denning for winter. For this relocation to be a success, we need everyone’s cooperation to keep wildlife attractants secured and prevent the bear from accessing human food sources again. Be extra diligent to lock up garbage, clear fruit trees, clean barbecues and secure grease pits over the next few weeks.
If you notice a bear in your yard, using hazing techniques such as loud noises, bright lights, or turning on in-ground sprinklers are all acceptable methods to help that bear move on.
The WildSafeBC coordinator and Radium bylaw will be doing rounds over the next few weeks, checking garbage bins and other attractants to make sure everyone is compliant with Village bylaws that prohibit intentional or accidental feeding of wildlife.
If you are struggling to manage a fruit tree, or if you have other issues that are making it difficult for you to manage your wildlife attractants, please contact your local WildSafeBC coordinators.
Please report conflict wildlife encounters immediately to the Conservation Officer RAPP line: 1-877-952-7277.