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Conservation officers killed 500 black bears in BC last year: wildlife charity

A wildlife charity says stronger municipal coexistence policies are needed to prevent hundreds of black bears from being killed by conservation officers in British Columbia every year.

Through a freedom of information request to BC’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, The Fur-Bearers learned that the BC Conservation Officer Service killed 500 black bears in the province in 2022.

Between 2015-22, the BCCOS has had to kill 4,279 black bears.

<who>Photo Credit: 123rf

“Black bears are often killed when they begin accessing garbage and spend time in human-dense areas seeking unnatural food sources from unsecured attractants,” noted Aaron Hofman, director of advocacy and policy at The Fur-Bearers.

“By identifying communities where bears are killed with greater frequency, questions about systemic issues can be asked, and the killing can end.”

In 2022, Prince George led the way with 32 black bears killed, followed by Nelson (21), Castlegar (14), Okanagan Falls (12), Revelstoke (12), West Kelowna (12), Nanaimo (10) and Port Alberni (10).

Those eight areas account for 25% of all the black bears killed by conservation officers in 2022 and Hofman says that’s something local governments, businesses and residents need to address together.

“Wildlife is typically seen as a provincial responsibility, but provincial officers cannot respond to every potential attractant issue like unsecured garbage, or every incident of wildlife feeding,” he explained.

“Municipalities need to take leadership and implement measures to manage attractants including garbage, bird feeders, fruit trees and wildlife feeding. These efforts will help protect people and wildlife.”

The Fur-Bearers are calling on residents to contact their local elected officials about these stats, as well as visit the wildlife charity’s website to learn about solutions that can help reduce deaths.

Click here to visit The Fur-Bearers website and see the data for BC between 2015-22.

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