WildSafeBC coordinator Cali Barton updates Cumberland council on wildlife interactions for 2019. Photo by Mike Chouinard

WildSafeBC coordinator Cali Barton updates Cumberland council on wildlife interactions for 2019. Photo by Mike Chouinard

No bears destroyed in Cumberland in 2019

WildSafeBC coordinator updates Village on successes and challenges

Cumberland has been making progress in reducing human interactions with wildlife in recent years.

Last year, once again no bears suffered because of interactions with the community.

“There were no bears destroyed in the Village this year,” said Cali Barton, the WildSafeBC coordinator for Cumberland, during her 2019 annual report to council Monday.

There was a slight increase though in black bear sightings and encounters.

In her executive report, Barton highlights there has been a trend toward less human-wildlife conflict since the program was established in the community in 2016.

There is still work to be done though. Some people are still leaving out garbage that can attract bears. Barton noted instances where she had to tag bags to let people know they need to be more aware of the potential problem.

“The most common attractant for bears has always been garbage,” she told council.

They did bag-tagging over 20 nights from February to November and covered about 1,800 residences. Typically, they would find a low number of infractions on the night before garbage pickup, usually three or four. In one case, they tagged 15 bins. However, she pointed this was the exception, as in general people have been open to the program. She also pointed out ticketing by the bylaw department has been an effective way to get people to comply.

Other challenges include getting people to compost properly, avoid leaving pet food outside and make sure fruit is gleaned from their properties.

A large part of what the WildSafeBC program does is public education. Some of this takes place with children at the Cumberland Community School.

RELATED STORY: Cumberland hosting WildSafeBC’s BC Goes Wild event

In all, they made 14 presentations throughout the year to a total of 290 people, while 180 children participated in the WildSafe Ranger program through which kids gain wildlife knowledge and share it with their families.

‘It’s so great to see the kids so excited to learn,” she said.

As well, the WildSafeBC booth was set up at events, and Barton estimates they reached at least 850 people this way.

Barton did caution that bear interaction statistics are only based on reported sightings and not other cases where people do not make reports, so a challenge remains in getting people to make reports.

“Only the reported sightings end up in the stats,” she said. “It’s not always a complete picture of what’s going on.”

Ultimately, the community is working toward Bear Smart Community Status. As part of this, last spring a hazard assessment was approved, and with support from Village council and staff, a management plan is now underway.

Council was pleased to see the progress last year, as some recalled that only four years ago, several bears were destroyed because of interactions. Coun. Jesse Ketler said the community has responded to the creation of the program.

“I think it really rallied the community,” she said.

Mayor Leslie Baird thanked Barton and credited the program for the fact that no bear has been destroyed in the last three years.

“You’ve made a huge difference to the community,” she said.



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

On average, the Comox Station receives 60 call outs per year. Photo by RCM-SAR member Chris Beech, Media.
BOATING WITH BARB: Victoria JRCC and RCM-SAR Station 60 Comox work together to save lives

Barb Thomson Special to The Record Just imagine you wander down to… Continue reading

A Courtenay resident labours to remove the snow build-up from around her car in February 2019. The area may see snow throughout the coming weekend. Black Press file photo
Snow, winter not done with the Comox Valley quite yet

Flurries, snow and cold temps predicted for the weekend

Dr. John Hooper is the new conductor of Island Voices. Photo supplied
Island Voices welcomes new conductor

This spring will be a time of transition for Island Voices chamber… Continue reading

From left—Rev. Ryan Slifka (minister, St. George’s); Ellen Wise (elder, St. George’s); Evangeline Mathura, (vice-president, Dawn to Dawn); Grant Shilling (outreach worker, Dawn to Dawn), with a cheque for $10,433.15.
Courtenay church donates more than $10,000 to transitional housing and support service

St. Goerge’s presents Dawn to Dawn with $10,433.15 cheque

A pine siskin is treated for salmonella poisoning at the Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS) hospital, in Merville. Photo by Gylaine Anderston.
Salmonella poisoning in birds and pets a result of unclean bird feeders

Have you ever endured a bout of food poisoning? If you remember… Continue reading

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Health-care workers wait in line at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians who have had COVID-19 should still get the vaccine, experts say

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were found to have a 95 per cent efficacy

An empty Peel and Sainte-Catherine street is shown in Montreal, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Poll finds strong support for COVID-19 curfews despite doubts about effectiveness

The poll suggests 59 per cent remain somewhat or very afraid of contracting COVID-19

Egg producers in B.C. aren’t obligated to reveal their production sites. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Officials say there’s not enough Vancouver Island eggs to meet demand

BC Egg Marketing Board doesn’t regulate labelling, supply needed from off-Island

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

442 Transport and Rescue Squadron from CFB Comox was tasked to assist Arrowsmith Ground Search and Rescue (GSAR) in extracting an injured hiker off of Mount Arrowsmith on Jan. 17. Photo by Capt.Reg Reimer
442 Transport and Rescue Squadron assists in Mount Arrowsmith rescue

“The turbulent conditions … made the hoisting quite challenging.”

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

A Trail man has a lucky tin for a keepsake after it saved him from a stabbing last week. File photo
Small tin in Kootenay man’s jacket pocket saved him from stabbing: RCMP

The man was uninjured thanks to a tin in his jacket

Most Read