The Whistler Bear Working Group plans to achieve official status for Whistler as a Bear Smart Community this year.
Immediate projects include establishing a timeline and preparing a Bear Hazard Assessment plan to update Whistlers bear management plan, which received less than excellent grades in a recent Bear Smart assessment by the province.
The working group will be monitoring the effectiveness of non-lethal bear management by radio collaring and tracking bears that have been exposed to aversion techniques.
A public survey will be conducted this Summer to determine the Whistler communitys level of tolerance toward bears and the WBWG will use the information to resolve conflicts and address concerns for human and bear safety and property damage.
The group is comprised of representatives from the J.J. Whistler Bear Society, Resort Municipality of Whistler, RCMP, Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection (Conservation Officer Services), Whistler-Blackcomb, AWARE, the Whistler Black Bear Project, and the Squamish and Lilwat Nations. The group was formed to develop new community-based solutions to minimising human/bear conflicts in Whistler.
Residents are requested to report incidents of the new bear hotline: 604-905-BEAR (2327).
The public can also obtain faxed tips on encountering a bear in the backcountry or living with bears in their backyard through the hotline.