Bear Aware program gets new name

This year the program has an expanded scope and a new name: WildSafeBC.

Bear Aware is back for another busy season, but this year the program has an expanded scope and a new name: WildSafeBC. It has also turned to the use of social media to help in its efforts to reduce human-wildlife conflict throughout the province.

The change comes about in response to an increased number of conflicts with other wildlife species as well as an increased demand for information on managing conflicts with animals other than black bears and grizzlies.

Every year in B.C., the Conservation Officer Service’s RAPP line receives approximately 25, 000 calls about wildlife sightings and conflicts. The majority can be avoided through proper attractant management. WildSafeBC’s mission statement remains the same: to reduce human-wildlife conflict through education, innovation and cooperation.

WildSafeBC has also launched an exciting new mapping program under the name of Wildlife Alert Reporting Program (WARP) on the WildSafeBC website: www.wildsafebc.com.

Any reports of wildlife sightings or conflicts will be marked on this map of B.C. which will enable residents to keep an eye on wildlife activity in their neighbourhood. The hope is that when residents know there is a bear hanging around their street, they will be vigilant about securing attractants (e.g.: taking down birdfeeders, bringing in the garbage, and giving the barbecue a quick clean).

By providing residents with these updates of wildlife activity, we hope to greatly reduce preventable conflicts and the unnecessary destruction of wildlife as a result.

To report a wildlife sighting or conflict, call the RAPP line at  1 (877) 952-7277.