Bear gets short-distance relocation after berry feast 

Whistler Wildlife Protection Group to meet Oct. 5

click to enlarge BEAR SMART FACEBOOK PHOTO - can i come in? A bear waits patiently outside someone's home. The next meeting of the Whistler Wildlife Protection Group is Oct. 5.
  • Bear smart facebook photo
  • can i come in? A bear waits patiently outside someone's home. The next meeting of the Whistler Wildlife Protection Group is Oct. 5.

An adult male bear was safely relocated on the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 27, after several return trips to some fruit trees near the Inukshuk on Village Gate Boulevard.

"The bear was persistent there in trying to access those berries around the village," said Sgt. Simon Gravel with the Conservation Officer Service (COS), adding that the bear was safely relocated a few kilometres north of town.

"That will give us some time to manage that attractant," he said.

"We've been working with the Whistler municipality and they've already removed the tree in question and they are right now conducting an inventory of any possible other attractants and they will be removed as well."

The Whistler Wildlife Protection Group (WWPG) also urged the municipality to remove the trees after the bear started to draw a crowd with his gorging in recent days, and sent volunteers to the area to advise tourists and other bear-watchers to stay away.

"There are so many people that are helping and taking initiative on their own, it's crazy actually. It's a good sign," said WWPG organizer Ranya Dube.

The WWPG was formed last month after a bear was killed due to human conflict, and has already grown to 335 members.

The group's next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 5 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the boardroom at the Aspens, located at 4800 Spearhead Drive.

Whistler Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden will be in attendance, and an invitation has been sent to the COS as well.

"We want to make it clear that we actually want to help them... we don't want to attack anyone, we just want to see what's happening," Dube said.

"The whole point of the meeting is really just, we want to understand how things are being handled at the moment."

To keep the meeting orderly, anyone with questions is asked to send them ahead of time, and the WWPG's admin team will ask them on your behalf.

Check out the WWPG's Facebook page for more info.

It's been mostly quiet on the bear front in recent weeks, Gravel said, aside from one incident where a bear accessed a home on Brandywine Way a few weeks ago.

"It was a smallish, tagged bear that just entered a kitchen where the door was left open," Gravel said, adding that a trap was set for the bear, but he didn't fall for it.

"We captured a few raccoons instead," Gravel said. "So we released the raccoons and removed the trap and we are monitoring this area."

The COS no longer does long-distance relocations for large carnivores, after a revision to its procedures came into effect in April.

"That wasn't necessarily a big change, because we had been going down that route for several years, where we were looking at long distance not being an effective management technique," said COS wildlife conflict manager Mike Badry.

"You look at the studies that have been done when you take animals and you move them long distances and you release them someplace that they're not familiar yet, it's very rarely a positive outcome for them.

"But we're very focused on other non-lethal management techniques, like this idea of hazing or doing short distance translocations, if those animals meet the criteria for non-lethal then we're still going to do that."

Meanwhile, a recommendation out of the Whistler Bear Advisory Committee (WBAC) aims to extend no hunting boundaries on the Callaghan Road from the municipal boundary to Whistler Olympic Park.

The recommendation was moved and seconded at the July 13 WBAC meeting, and the RMOW will submit an application to the Ministry of Forests to extend the boundaries.



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