The Okanagan has made the list of the most deadly communities in British Columbia for black bears.
According to government statistics gathered by the charitable organization the Fur-Bearers, Vernon is the fifth deadliest spot to be a black bear in B.C.
The top five communities, and the number of bears put down, include:
- Prince George: 36
- 100 Mile House: 22
- Quesnel: 19
- Burns Lake: 17
- Vernon: 16
In 2021, these five areas alone accounted for almost 20% of all black bears killed in the province by conservation officers. These communities are not specific to municipal boundaries because of how the BC Conservation Officer Service records their incident reports.
“Black bears are killed by the hundreds by government agents in British Columbia, frequently for being near humans or accessing human foods that were left accessible,” explains Aaron Hofman,with the Fur-Bearers.
“It is important that communities where these bears are killed with extreme frequency are identified and addressed so underlying, systemic causes for negative encounters can be ended. Our deadliest communities list was created to try and put into perspective what many residents have decried: too many bears are dying, and not enough is being done about it.”
Between 2015-2021, the BCCOS put down 3,779 black bears in the province of B.C. and the Fur-Bearers urges residents to contact their municipal representatives and request wildlife attractant by-laws be implemented, along with education and enforcement.
“If government agents and agencies are as distraught at the number of bears killed as they indicate in media, we certainly hope that they will use this list as an opportunity to speak to their superiors and key political figures behind making change happen,” Hofman says.