The provincial government is kicking in $52,000 towards the second year of a black bear monitoring and research program in Whistler that will examine non-lethal aversion options.
"Those living in the Whistler area are all too fully aware of the potential and often tragic circumstances that can occur whenever there is interaction between humans and bears," MLA Joan McIntyre said in announcing the funding.
Over six-and-a-half months, three British Columbia Conservation Corps participants will assist with the capture, collaring and monitoring of bears to study the response to non-lethal methods of repelling nuisance bears. Participants will also work with the provincial Bear Aware program, helping to provide and distribute program information and resources. The project was initiated last summer.
The project's ultimate goal is to determine the reactions of black bears that have been subject to non-lethal conditioning techniques. This information will then be utilized to evaluate draft operation guidelines for Whistler and other communities in British Columbia.
The B.C. Conservation Crops was launched in February 2005 as a student and recent graduate mentoring program, designed to nurture a new generation of conservationists. At the time, the B.C. Government announced an investment of $9 million over three years to run the program. This year, the Ministry of Environment has approved 27 new projects across the province, employing approximately 150 students in projects ranging from two to nine months in length.