Cumberland has a new resource at its disposal to help reduce conflicts with bears and other wildlife.
For the summer, Angeline Seed is working as an ambassador from WildSafeBC, a program designed to reduce human-wildlife conflict. She has conducted school presentations, and will be hosting camps and various events.
“It (program focus) depends on the community,” she said. “In other places they have huge issues with deer, but with Cumberland I’m finding mostly it’s with the bear.”
Last year in the Comox Valley, conservation officers had to destroy seven bears, including a mother and two cubs, mostly in Cumberland.
“What we really need to focus on is what’s attracting those bears,” Seed said. “Most of the time it’s 100 per cent preventable. Garbage is a big one (bear attractant).”
She implores the public to start using a Wildlife Alert Reporting Program on the WildSafeBC website: www.wildsafebc.com/warp/
“It’s all of B.C. and you can zoom in on your own community and see what wildlife is in the area. And also report your own sightings. I really want to get that utilized in the community because it’s a great tool for me.”
WARP data from June 2015 to 2016 shows 20 reported bear sightings where garbage was listed as an attractant.
Seed is working closely with the Cumberland Bear Initiative, the Conservation Officer service and the Village.
Tuesday nights — the night before garbage pickup in Cumberland — she has conducted some ‘tagging’ on garbage that has been left out early.
“It’s just a bear attractant sticker. It’s not a fine, just a reminder to keep people aware of the fact that their garbage can be or is attracting bears.”
Seed will be at the Cumberland library July 21, Aug. 18 and Aug. 25 at 6:30 p.m. Presentations will include a demonstration and information session about the WARP program.
For more information, contact Seed at 250-703-6269 or email@example.com.
Following are some tips to reduce human-wildlife conflict with bear, raccoon, deer and cougar:
• Keep garbage secure, either stored in a secure location or in a bear-resistant container;
• Don’t put garbage out until the day of collection;
• Pick fruit as it ripens and pick up all wind falls;
• Bring in bird feeders from April to November — when using them, keep the ground underneath free from spillage;
• Feed pets indoors;
• Keep compost working properly, a smelly compost is a sign it is not working properly;
• Do not feed wildlife;
• Keep barbecues clean and odour free;
• Leash pets when on walks or hikes.