Bear Aware publishes its 2016 Annual Report
Executive Summary (for the full report please click here)
2016 was a very active year for Revelstoke Bear Aware. There were 642 reports of bears. The Conservation Officer Service destroyed 24 black bears in 2016, and there were unconfirmed reports of residents destroying further bears. There were several incidents where bears damaged property and vehicles or showed aggression towards humans.
Garbage continues to be the number one attractant for bears in Revelstoke, 12 of the destroyed bears were killed as a result of becoming conditioned to eating garbage. Most reports that concerned aggressive bears also concerned garbage.
The city has not yet chosen to implement a bear resistant garbage collection system in Revelstoke. Revelstoke Bear Aware and the Conservation Officer Service agree that the implementation of a bear resistant garbage system must be a priority before there is an incident concerning human safety. Revelstoke Bear Aware recommends that the process of bear proofing the garbage system should begin in mobile home parks where installation of centralized bear resistant bins is relatively easy and may even be more cost effective per house than curb side pickup from every house.
Revelstoke Bear Aware delivered 12 presentations, contributed to 2 City Council meetings, attended 7 public events, and presented at 3 workshops. Through these events we reached a total 1842 people.
A door-to-door campaign was conducted and Bear in Area lawn signs were deployed in areas where bears had been reported. The Revelstoke Bear Aware Facebook page was utilized and post views reached over 109,500 views. Revelstoke Bear Aware also gave numerous interviews to local and global media outlets. The Gleaning Project was also very active this year and also encouraged people to glean their own trees and donate their fruit to the project.
A garbage survey was made for each of the 4 collection rounds during the fall. Garbage cans left out overnight in contravention of the Solid Waste and Recycling Bylaw (#2006) were tagged with a sticker informing the owner that garbage is a bear attractant and asking them to secure their can until collection day. Bear Aware worked with the City of Revelstoke to increase bylaw enforcement due to the high bear activity and numerous residents and businesses were fined.
The Revelstoke Bear Aware program is strongly supported by volunteers. This year 53 volunteers gave a total of 171 volunteer hours to Revelstoke Bear Aware.
Included in this report are recommendations for 2017. Key recommendations are summarized below.
- Follow the development of the City’s wildlife attractant bylaw and have it in place in spring of 2017. Assist with this process as appropriate.
- Develop our 2017 educational program. The 2017 program will offer specific education to support community awareness of, and skills to comply with, the new wildlife attractant bylaw.
- List unmanaged fruit trees to allow for better management under the bylaw.
- Urge the City and other land administrators to remove unmanaged fruit trees from their properties.
- Advocate for a city-wide bear resistant solid waste collection system.
- Urge the City to implement a centralized bear resistant bin system in all mobile home parks and new developments in 2017.
- Revelstoke Bear Aware will develop an agreement with Local Food Initiative to offer the Gleaning Program.
- Revelstoke Bear Aware Society will update its bylaws.
- Revelstoke Bear Aware Society will complete the provincially-mandated transition to the new Societies Act.