Conservation office update

The spring bear season is upon us.

Submitted by Sgt. Greg Kruger

The spring bear season is upon us. As a reminder, we ask that everyone do their part to manage all unnatural food sources on your property to prevent a bear from accessing it. We recently had two black bears aggressively charge or chase people while defending a food source they should not have been rewarded with. One was a bird feeder full of seed and the other was an outdoor fridge with sweet beverages and spoiled milk. Conservation officers attended and these bears were removed for the public’s safety.

Folks living from the Juniper Heights subdivision to Dry Gulch, Radium, and Edgewater [Baptise Lake] are likely aware of an unusually high number of grizzly bear sightings thus far. Invermere Conservation Officer Service (COS) was monitoring five plus bears that dropped down into the valley much further than normal in search of their first meals of grass and any carrion they could find along the highway and rail tracks. On a couple occasions these bears were ‘hazed’ [encouraged to move along] when they were near residences. We have both good and bad news on this front: within the last several days there have been no new reports of these bears near our communities. Unfortunately, one young adult grizzly was run over by a train north of Radium.

The COS has adapted to the recent COVID-19 changes by representing provincial virus-spreading-prevention initiatives to keep the public safe. We have been asked to assist both BC Parks and Recreation and Trails BC to maintain compliance with the ‘no camping’ order in their campgrounds. The locals and COS are pleased to have camping once again allowed in all recreation and BC Parks sites as of June 1. The COS has also been tasked with extended shifts on the USA-Canada border crossings to register travellers returning to B.C. for the mandatory 14-day self isolation requirement.

It is also that time of the year when our urban deer are giving birth. If you see what you believe is an orphaned animal, please leave it alone. The mother has deliberately left it for its protection and will return to it. Also, please do your best to avoid a mother with a newborn as she will have heightened senses to protect it, especially if there is a dog in close proximity.

Our new Wildsafe BC Coordinator for the Columbia Valley, Corrina Strauss, is up and running. She will be an awesome resource in addressing wildlife conflicts by providing education and outreach. Thank you to all contributing municipalities and the regional district for this funding as it is a great asset for the COS.

For information on wildlife conflict prevention visit: wildsafebc.com

For reporting wildlife safety concerns, call the BC Conservation Officer Service at: 1-877-952-7277.

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