By Frank Peebles
When bears and humans live together, as most do in this area, it helps everyone involved to have clear boundaries. Electric ones may even be necessary.
Gillian Sanders has more than 20 years of field experience in bear conservation and conflict mitigation. She will lead a workshop for Quesnel residents to learn how to improve safety and prevent possible damage to property and livestock. She specializes in grizzlies, but the techniques are just as applicable to black bears.
“The main benefit for people is the ability to raise chickens, small livestock, and crops without bear damage,” said Sanders of Grizzly Bear Solutions. “Mitigating bear conflicts also improves human safety and keeps bears out of trouble.”
What to do in and around bears is one part of Sanders’ discussion, and she will also be explaining the latest in electric fencing, as well as some tried and true methods of the past.
“Bears simply go where the food is, especially in the fall when they are getting ready for hibernation,” Sanders said. “Their whole biology and reproduction is evolved around finding available food sources. When bears do not find food, they simply move on. So, it’s to our benefit to prevent bears from feeding near us, so they do not learn unsafe behaviours near people.”
The event is a co-presentation of the Cariboo chapter of WildSafeBC (BC Conservation Foundation) and the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation. The groups issued a joint public statement saying,
“Do you know how to safely respond in a bear encounter? Bears are soon entering their dens for winter but some may be active through November. Well designed electric fencing is effective to protect chickens, livestock, and crops from black and grizzly bears. This free workshop is geared towards residents who live, farm, work and recreate in bear habitat.”
The Quesnel workshop takes place on Wednesday, Nov. 2, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Quesnel Arts and Recreation Centre located at 500 North Star Road.
If you miss the Quesnel edition, Sanders will also conduct workshops in Prince George at the Spruce City Wildlife Association on Nov. 4 at 6:30 p.m. and in Vanderhoof on Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. at the Nechako Valley Sporting Association.
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