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Mechthild (Mecki) Facundo
For Whistler Chamber of Commerce
We need your help in reporting "undesirable" bear behaviour to the Police or Conservation Officer Service. Officers are all fully trained in non-lethal bear management and carry non-lethal deterrents, like rubber bullets and noise deterrents. Every attempt will be made to mitigate the situation without resorting to lethal means. We must trust in the system. If we dont, were going to end up with an ever increasing number of human-bear conflicts.
So what is "undesirable" bear behaviour you ask? As defined by the Whistler Bear Working Group, "undesirable" behaviour is: being present in high use and active human areas; not leaving an area when encountering humans at close distances; actively searching for or eating food when humans are present; damaging property to obtain food; approaching humans to obtain food; behaving assertively toward people; entering a human residence, commercial buildings, outbuilding or vehicle; or attacks on humans, pets, or livestock (where good animal husbandry is practised).
To report a human-bear conflict or garbage/attractant management problem, call 604-905-BEAR(2327). This hotline will provide you with a number of options and will allow you to connect directly with the RCMP, Conservation Officer Service, RMOW Bylaw Services or the Whistler Bear Society. You can even get information faxed to you immediately.
Why is it so important to report human-bear conflict situations? Unless undesirable bear behaviour is dealt with promptly and effectively, this type of behaviour usually continues to escalate, with bears becoming bolder and bolder. Unfortunately, it seems that bears receive positive food rewards far more often than negative conditioning and so they dont really learn that there are boundaries they should not cross. We need to work together to teach bears that undesirable behaviour wont be tolerated. People and bears can coexist in harmony, but it wont happen without everyones co-operation.
Its also important to report undesirable people behaviour. We must be vigilant and ensure our neighbours and friends are bear smart too. Any incidents involving improper garbage disposal or other backyard attractants, like birdfeeders, should be reported to Bylaw Services immediately.
For more information on living and recreating in bear country visit www.bearsmart.com or pick up a brochure at Municipal Hall.
Whistler Bear Society
Canadian Bear Alliance