With more than 600 bears destroyed in B.C. last year, Quesnel conservation officers are reminding residents about the revised Wildlife Act.
A project, initiated last year, incorporated enforcement personnel inspecting known areas of bear attractants.
“It is believed this preventative approach will reduce the number of human/bear conflicts associated with waste attractants,” conservation officer, Cariboo–Chilcotin Zone, Ryane McIntyre said.
Last year, more than 280 inspections resulted in an effective bear awareness campaign and a reduction in human/wildlife conflict in the Gold Pan City.
As occurred in 2011, in mid July, Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO) compliance and enforcement personnel attended the West Quesnel, Abbott Heights and Johnston subdivisions to inspect locations where quantities of food attractants would normally be stored or contained (eg. waste bins associated to restaurants, grocery stores, hotels and multiple resident dwellings.)
During those visits, residents were interviewed about the level of bear activity in their neighbourhoods.
“In addition to conducting the inspections the FLNRO personnel also provide bear smart education/information on how to reduce/prevent such occurrences,” McIntyre said.
“If there is evidence bear visitation has occurred, conservation officers will bring such to the immediate attention of persons responsible. Follow up response can include advisory letters, warnings, or other appropriate actions.”
McIntyre explained where there is waste likely to attract bears, conservation officers direct the person/s responsible to mitigate the issue.
“Where direction has been provided previously and it is observed directions have not been undertaken, response can also include a Dangerous Wildlife Protection Order (DWPO) pursuant to the Wildlife Act, requiring the person/company responsible to take necessary action described to mitigate the attractant issue,” she said.
When a DWPO is issued, a follow-up inspection occurs to ensure compliance. If non-compliance is subsequently detected, enforcement action may occur which could include the issuance of a ticket or charges.
Attractant means any of the following:
• Food or food waste, compost or other waste or garbage that could attract dangerous wildlife;
• A carcass or part of a carcass of an animal or fish, or other meat;
• Any other substance or thing prescribed by regulation of the minister;
A breach of this new law may result in either a $230 or $345 penalty by way of violation ticket.
Exemptions include lawful hunting/trapping, farming and municipal waste storage.
McIntyre said the public is encouraged to report human wildlife conflicts that threaten public safety or result in significant property damage by calling the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP), 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP) or visit, www.rapp.bc.ca.