Even though there were fewer black bear complaints in Castlegar this year, more bears were killed.
Castlegar’s Wildsafe co-ordinator Tara Pejski told city council last week that nine bears were destroyed in the Castlegar area this year. In 2021, just three bears were destroyed.
Through October, there were 232 animal complaints including 187 for black bears and seven for grizzlies. Last year there were 317 total calls including 231 black bears and 11 grizzly bears.
Pjeski said Castlegar residents did a better job this year with putting out their garbage carts at the appropriate times.
Last year the Wildsafe co-ordinator tagged 292 residential bins and 25 commercial bins with information and warnings. This year they tagged 60 residential bins and 16 commercial bins.
Pejski credits the “no-nonsense approach” the city took this year by ticketing offenders who placed their garbage out too early for much of the improvement.
This year 23 bylaw tickets were issued for garbage infractions, compared to just nine last year.
Pjeski reported that throughout the year she made 26 presentations to schools and day cares, hosted seven information booths and held 10 workshops on things like electric fencing and using bear spray.
She also reported that the harvest matching program the city introduced this year was was well received and recommended the city continue it next year, but with a much earlier start in the season.
In order to further reduce bear conflicts, Pjeski also recommended continuing with a high level of garbage bin tagging for infractions and increasing the level of commercial bin tagging.
After hearing from a number of people who didn’t want to report bear issues due to misunderstandings, she suggested educating the public on the roles and goals of conservation officers.
Pejeski also encouraged the city to expand their attractant information to include animals other than bears.
While the bears may soon be in their dens, there are many other animals that do not hibernate and Wildsafe encourages everyone to become more familiar with the wildlife that may be passing through our community.
Please report sightings of bears, wolves or cougars in urban/residential areas, or wildlife in conflict, to the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.