Black bear feasting on mountain ash berries, a natural food source in the fall in the Castlegar area. Photo: WildSafeBC

Black bear feasting on mountain ash berries, a natural food source in the fall in the Castlegar area. Photo: WildSafeBC

Six bears euthanized in Castlegar this year

More bear complaints this year than usual

Bears were more active around Castlegar in the spring and early summer this year, resulting in more than 100 black bear complaints, according to Castlegar’s corporate services manager Tracey Butler.

On Aug. 15, Butler shared information with city council gathered from a meeting with the city’s BearSmart working group.

As of the end of July, six bears had been euthanized in Castlegar.

That is the highest number of bear encounters and euthanizations in the area. The City of Trail saw four bears euthanized during the same time frame.

Butler reported that 77 per cent of the complaints were related to food-conditioned bears accessing garbage and fruit or nut trees.

With a poor huckleberry crop this summer, the group is concerned about a further escalation in the fall.

The group is working with WildSafeBC to come up with a fruit and nut harvest campaign that would partner people with unused bear-attracting fruits and nuts with those who could utilize the produce.

Butler said that so far this year the city has issued six bylaw infraction tickets to repeat bear-attractant offenders and five warnings to new residents and those who had not had previous offences.

Butler said, in general, Castlegar is working hard to minimize bear conflicts, but sometimes there is not a lot that can be done due to natural bear corridors and poor natural harvests.

“[We are] looking forward to the organics program to see what kind of dent that makes in the situation,” said Butler.

The new curbside organics collection program is scheduled to start in spring 2023.

READ MORE: City of Castlegar removes encampments along railway right of way



betsy.kline@castlegarnews.com

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