Garbage bin tagging has reduced human-wildlife conflicts in the South Cariboo, according to WildSafeBC.
An education campaign to prevent conflict started in June 2019 with the Cariboo Regional District and the District of 100 Mile house partnering up with WildSafeBC and the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society.
The campaign focused on 108 Mile Ranch and 100 Mile House and there were significant decreases in black bear reports in both areas compared to 2018, according to a release.
The B.C. Conservation Officer Service confirmed earlier this month that calls dropped from 381 in 2018, when eight bears were euthanized to 91 in 2019 when three bears were euthanized.
“We had a lot of issues last year in 2018,” said Conservation Officer Joel Kline earlier this month, with garbage being one of the main concerns.
“If we want to prevent human-wildlife conflict, we need to address garbage as it is the number one attractant for black bears,” says Amber Gregg, local WildSafeBC co-ordinator. “The best practice is to only place your garbage on the curb on the day of pickup. As part of our education campaign, we put bright yellow stickers on garbage bins placed out the night before pickup to warn residents that their garbage is an attractant.”
In the 108 Mile Ranch, WildSafeBC staff tagged garbage bins once per month from June until September. In one neighbourhood, there were 30 bins out on the first round of tagging, but that decreased to only seven bins in September, according to WildSafeBC. Further, between August and October 2019, the Conservation Officer Service only received four reports for black bear encounters in the 108 Mile Ranch compared to 47 reports for the same time period in 2018.
100 Mile House also saw a decrease in bear encounters, according to WildSafeBC. Compared to the 103 black bear conflicts reported in 2018, there were only 48 reported in 2019.
Overall, there were no calls to the Conservation Officer Service in the 108 Mile Ranch for September and October 2019, and only 18 in 100 Mile House for the same months.
“The 2019 WildSafeBC Cariboo season was very successful. While our education campaign may not have been the only reason for fewer bear encounters, the communities were receptive to the education and improvements were made in both 100 Mile House and 108 Mile Ranch,” says Gregg. “I’m looking forward to seeing the continued success of this program in reducing human-wildlife conflict in our region.”
The 2019 garbage tagging program was funded by the Cariboo Regional District and delivered by the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society.
For further information about the program or for tips on wildlife safety visit wildsafebc.com, follow WildSafeBC Cariboo on Facebook, or contact your local Community Coordinator, Amber Gregg, at 250-398-7929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.