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Vernon  

People to blame, not bears

Residents in the Vernon area are to blame for conflicts with bears and not the other way around, city council was informed Monday.

“Incidences of bear conflicts related to residential garbage increased compared to previous years' reports,” said WildsafeBC's annual report on occurrences in the city. “The WCC (Wildsafe community coordinator) noted poor attractant management by residents with regards to birdfeed, fruit trees and residential garbage.”

“There was quite an uptick in bear calls, 209 as of Nov. 1st, compared to 171 for the entire 2016,” Frank Ritcey, Wildsafe provincial co-ordinator, told council during a presentation.

Ritcey said 65 per cent of complaints about bears had to do with garbage.

He said Wildsafe is teaching people how to manage their garbage and other attractants in order to reduce the number of conflicts.

And while people love their birds, Ritcey warned the seed in birdfeeders attracted not only bears but rodents.

“If there are rats or mice in the area, they will access it.”

He suggested taking bird feeders inside overnight.

Deer are becoming more of an issue and Ritcey urged the city to confront the matter before the animals become a problem, such as in Grand Forks.

“We have an opportunity to get ahead of it so people understand feeding the deer isn't the thing to do,” Ritcey said. “It's nice when one or two are around and not so great when 10 or 12 are living next door.”

There were relatively few calls about coyotes despite their high numbers but anytime someone saw a cougar, that was of concern.

“When a cougar comes into town, even though the numbers are low, they are looking for a meal (and) the meal they want is some kind of meat.”

The city is also being urged to consider a joint Wildsafe program with the North Okanagan Regional District so that more people are reached with the information.



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