A few bears continue to make a lasting impression in Castlegar but generally they are getting ready to den up for the winter as is the WildSafeBC Castlegar Community program.
Once again, WildSafeBC had an active year assisting the community with several wildlife conflicts throughout the Castlegar area. The program included door-to-door canvassing with educational information, garbage tagging, attendance at farmer’s markets, collaborating with the Kootenay Food Strategy Society to encourage management of fruit and nut attractants, and limited delivery of the WildSafe Ranger Program. In these COVID times, WildSafeBC, like many other businesses and organizations, has modified their activities.
Household garbage and fruit bearing trees remain the two major high conflict animal attractants in Castlegar. Local fruit trees and small orchards have deep historical roots and even though residents are no longer commercial fruit growers, they need to be responsible and pick their fruit to prevent human-wildlife conflict.
WildSafeBC received 144 wildlife alert reports of black bears in the Castlegar area between March 1 and Oct. 30, 2020. This was followed by deer, cougars and coyotes at a distant second at 11 wildlife alert reports each. Black bears continued to be observed after Oct. 31 in all areas of Castlegar and residents in the old downtown area witnessed several sows with cubs in fruit and nut trees, grape vines and conifer trees. These bears became spectacles for many Castlegar residents.
The Castlegar WildSafeBC community coordinator is grateful for the generous support of the British Columbia Conservation Foundation, Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, the Conservation Officer Service and bylaw enforcement for their ongoing support, the City of Castlegar and the Regional District of Central Kootenay and everyone who has made an effort to prevent human-wildlife conflicts this year. Many Castlegar residents are making efforts to prevent conflicts from happening and truly want to see wildlife remain wild.
During the winter months, wildlife conflicts can still be reported to the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277 and urgent wildlife questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Until the program resumes in the spring, please visit wildsafebc.com and follow their Facebook page for updates, tips, and other information to assist you in keeping wildlife wild and communities safe.