4H Carnivores Day
To promote education on, tolerance of, and appreciation for bears, cougars and wolves on Southern Vancouver Island, we have organized the 4H Carnivores Day in Metchosin (October 20, 2018) and participated in the Parksville 4H Regional Conference (April 13, 2019). 30 to 40 youth from Southern Vancouver Island, between 7 and 16 years old (and their parents), have attended the events. We have discussed with them what attracts bears and cougars to our communities and what we can do to manage attractants such as garbage in our communities. We have made cougar and bear paw casts with them, learned about carnivores signs in the wild and looked at trail cameras to understand how wildlife behaves. It was a great experience to share ideas with our youth on how they can live and coexist with bears, cougars and wolves!
the Bear Deterrents Workshop for Local Farmers
In Metchosin, Sooke and Highlands there has been an increase of impact on food producers from bears. This has taken the form of sheep and goat depredation, loss of bee hives and loss of fruit and damage to fruit trees.
To help local producers prevent damages by bears we have organized a workshop with a special guest in Metchosin on September 15th 2018: Jeff Marley of Margo Supplies Ltd. He has shared with the 38 participants to the workshop his over 35 years of experience and expertise in the use of electric fencing, and noise and light deterrents to bears.
Some of the key messages shared by Jeff with the farmers were:
Search the area of weakness when you install a bear deterrent. Bears are smart and will find a way in if they can see an easier access.
Be creative and adapt the suggested tools to your specific needs.
Use existing fencing and structure to install electric fences, it will be more cost effective.
Grass is the biggest issue for electric fencing effectiveness. Keep the bottom of your fence clean from grass for proper functioning.
Shrub touching your fence does not reduce the effectiveness of this tool.
Tight wires are best as they dissuade the bears much better to dig into your property.
COEXISTING with bears in Sooke
Joanna van Bommel, a University of British Columbia (UBC) student and member of the alliance, is hoping her research project can shed more light on the causes of human and bear conflicts. She’s placing cameras in urban, rural and forested areas of Sooke to study the animal’s behaviour and find ways to cut down on conflicts with local communities. Read more about Joanna's work here. Check back in a year for her research results or twit her at @JoannaKvB