Golden’s two conservation officers are looking for help from the community to reduce bear conflict this season.
At a presentation to Town Council last week, Officer Dan Bartol requested that there be stronger enforcement of Town bylaws that are already in place to reduce bear and wildlife attractants.
“The bylaw is already in place, and that’s a huge step. You’re ahead of a lot of other communities that way. But I think it needs to be enforced, and strictly,” said Bartol, who joined Officer Alex Desjardins six months ago when the ministry amalgamated Golden’s zone with Revelstoke’s.
“I didn’t want to waste any time bringing up a very important issue, and one that I think we can work together to find a solution to.”
Much of a bear’s behaviour is learned, which is why once they become habituated to garbage as a food source, it is very difficult to break that behaviour.
“Bears are smart and lazy, they will always go after the easiest food source,” said Bartol.
Options are quite limited once this happens, so education and prevention is the best way to protect both the community, and the bear population.
“I think there’s a lot more that we could be doing.”
WildSafeBC, which will be operating in Golden this upcoming season, is an excellent partner on the education side. But Bartol and Desjardins say that it is best to have the municipality involved as well, in case the provincial funding for WildSafeBC is not there in the future.
Last year the conservation officers did hand out a few provincial fines for wildlife attractants, which are $375. Bartol, however, stressed that punishment is not the preferred means of operating. Stronger education would make the biggest impact.