How do we coexist with grizzly bears in the Elk Valley?
You have probably noticed, there are a number of grizzly bears in the Elk Valley. We share these lands with bears and many other species. How can we make sure the valley works well for people and bears?
Grizzly bears like to eat many of the same foods we do, though they don’t mind if the foods are fresh or not! Sharing the landscape with grizzly bears primarily involves making food sources inaccessible to bears, so they do not become conditioned to finding food near people. We don’t want bears to become food conditioned because these bears are then less likely to survive once they do, and we also want to keep bears away from homes and communities to keep people safe. Beyond managing garbage, a leading option to keep bears away from food on your property is through electric fencing. Electric fencing is effective to protect chicken coops, small livestock, crops, and fruit trees, and has the added bonus of allowing fruit to ripen on the tree without bear damage! For electric fencing to be successful, it needs to be installed and maintained correctly to deter bears from the fenced area. Grizzly Bear Coexistence Solutions provides free advice and a cost share program available on the price of electric fencing for bears in the Elk Valley to help with the expense of coexistence. Cost shares are limited to areas of grizzly bear conflicts and allow you the peace of mind to know your chickens, livestock or fruit are safe even when bears are active in your area. If you are no longer using your fruit tree and would like to have it removed, or replaced with a non-fruit bearing alternative, we can also support that with another cost-share program we are piloting. When bears do not have access to foods near people, they move more readily through the area without learning to hang around, and often avoid human presence.
In case you do encounter a bear, it’s a good plan to carry bear spray and know how to use it. Bear spray is an excellent personal safety tool if you do meet a bear in close range, and works in windy conditions.
Biologist Clayton Lamb will be presenting some of his research on local grizzly bear movements and population dynamics in the Elk Valley. We will also demonstrate the electric fencing program and materials, as well as provide WildSafeBC educational materials. The presentations will be from 7–9 pm, are free to attend, and will follow all COVID-19 provincial recommendations on the date of the event. For more information on the event or if you would like to take advantage of the cost share programs, please contact Grizzly Bear Coexistence Solutions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 250-353-1137.
- July 20th, Seniors Drop Off Center, Fernie
- July 21st, Teck Hall, Elkford