Port Alberni awarded Bear Smart status
Sep 8, 2013 / 7:57 am
The City of Port Alberni has become the province's fifth community to achieve Bear Smart status, an honour recognizing the community for their exceptional collaborative approach to reducing human-bear conflicts, announced Environment Minister Mary Polak.
"It takes a lot of dedication for a community to become Bear Smart,” said Mary Polak. “Since engaging in the Bear Smart program Port Alberni, a city with historically high levels of conflict with bears, has seen a consistent reduction in the level of conflict and number of bears destroyed. Congratulations to the City of Port Alberni for achieving Bear Smart status."
The Bear Smart Community program is a voluntary, preventative conservation measure encouraging communities, businesses and individuals to work together to address the root causes of human-bear conflicts, reducing the risks to human safety and private property, as well as the number of bears that have to be destroyed each year.
The City of Port Alberni implemented educational programs and a bear-proof municipal waste management system to reduce human-bear conflicts and completed all the additional actions required to obtain Bear Smart status.
Port Alberni joins the Village of Lions Bay, the Resort Municipality of Whistler, the District of Squamish and the City of Kamloops as Bear Smart communities. Over 20 other communities in BC are actively pursuing Bear Smart status.
"Achievement of Bear Smart status highlights the considerable efforts made by our community to reduce human-bear conflict, as well as our ongoing commitment to provide education and raise public awareness with regards to bear hazards,” said John Douglas, mayor of Port Alberni. “We are proud to be the fifth community in the province to achieve Bear Smart status and encourage other communities to work towards this goal."
Community requirements for Bear Smart status:
- Prepare a bear-hazard assessment of the community and surrounding area.
- Prepare a human-bear conflict management plan designed to address bear hazards and land-use conflicts identified in the previous step.
- Revise planning and decision-making documents to be consistent with the human-bear conflict management plan.
- Implement a continuing education program, directed at all sectors of the community.
- Develop and maintain a bear-proof municipal solid waste management system.
- Implement Bear Smart bylaws prohibiting providing food to bears, whether as a result of intent, neglect, or irresponsible management of attractants.
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