The Conservation Officer Service (COS), who responded to black bear activity in the Whaletown area in late August, has advised us “…that no bear was trapped”; a trap had been brought to the island with the intent to capture the bear.
Unfortunately, this bear was successful in entering several chicken coops and once a bear - enters a structure, it crosses the line. The line is a human safety line; the next structure the bear enters could be a human structure versus a livestock structure.
The unfortunate result is that this bear was to be trapped and then humanely killed.
The policy of the COS is to offer wildlife, that must be put down, to the indigenous people of the area for their use as food and/or ceremonial purposes.
The more unfortunate result is that while the COS was undertaking this work and proactively working with residents in education around coexistence with bears, they were made aware of a black bear that was found dead. “The COS is investigating the suspicious death of a black bear; any information that may prove valuable, please contact the COS at 1 877 952 (RAPP) 7277.”
PLEASE… be patient with the conservation officers attending and with each other when we find ourselves in a position of conflict with wildlife.
Our learning curve is steep with black bears, as they have not before, routinely made their presence known in the residentially developed areas of our community.
To prevent the unnecessary loss of bears active on Cortes Island in the future, we need to all be diligent in our responsibilities to ensure that we SECURE ALL BEAR ATTRACTANTS. Please refer to our 5-point bear primer, Learning to Live with Bears on Cortes Island, attached below for your reference. Garbage is the #1 bear attractant; garbage & recycling placed out for Saturday morning pickup must only be placed on the roadside, the morning of pickup. Bears are active at night and your garbage may act as an attractant.
Comprehensive information on black bears is available on the WildSafe BC site at www.wildsafebc.com/black-bear/
The recent Whaletown learning curve has especially emphasized the need to secure our livestock.
Electric fencing is the only effective fencing deterrent to bears.
Predator proof shelters by night… your shelters may be raccoon, wolf, hawk, cougar proof, but NOT bear proof. A bear is a completely different predator: bulky, powerful, agile climber, dexterous paws and in the fall is motivated to putting on ~20,000 calories a day to prepare for winter. As fall progresses, protein becomes the priority over fruit.
PLEASE… make every effort to SECURE ALL BEAR ATTRACTANTS; call on the COS to report encounters of conflict, call on your neighbours & community for support, call FOCI for guidance with the bear primer. You are never alone in working this through.
Friends of Cortes Island’s (FOCI) Wildlife Coexistence team will be offering community workshops this winter on electric fencing, composting with biochar and zero windfall solutions. FOCI will be teaming up with the Linnaea Farm Society to empower local farmers with the tools needed for successful wildlife coexistence.
THANK YOU… for acknowledging that Cortes Island IS black bear country and taking on the associated responsibilities.