Park Place Lodge

WildsafeBC Elk Valley says the entire community is to blame following a recent Fernie black bear death. This from WildsafeBC Elk Valley Coordinator, Kathy Murray after a habituated bear was trapped and destroyed in Fernie last week.

Fernie bear problem

“We are all to blame. A lot of people turn around and will blame the City and the Districts but ultimately it’s we the people that need to change their habits,” says Murray. “The killing of a black bear in Fernie rests on the shoulders of the entire community. The bear had been reported to be rummaging through garbage in a neighborhood, if everyone did their part to secure attractants like garbage, no bears would have to be destroyed.”

The neighbourhood in question is the Fernie Mobile Home Park (FMHP). WildsafeBC Elk Valley have had ongoing concerns about bears accessing unsecured garbage on decks, in backyards, under carports, causing property damage and ultimately creating a threat to public safety throughout the (FMHP) and the City of Fernie. FMHP is located in prime wildlife habitat. Removing bears doesn’t solve the problem, it simply opens up a niche for other bears to come in as long as garbage and other attractants are accessible.

Murry has been employed by the BC Conservation Foundation to deliver the WildSafeBC program in Fernie since 2005. She has spoken to many residents of the FMHP and has responded to many bear complaints over the years with the Conservation Officer Service. The first step in keeping the FMHP and the City of Fernie safe for wildlife and people is to enable residents to conveniently dispose of excess garbage between collection days twenty four hours a day.

Murry has been asked by the City of Fernie to come up with achievable, cost effective solutions to help bear proof the current solid waste management system, which ultimately will result in less garbage accessible to wildlife and a cleaner and safer community for wildlife and people. One of the recommendations will be that the City of Fernie acquire front loading user friendly bear resistant dumpsters to be placed in designated areas throughout the City of Fernie including the main entrance of the FMHP.

Murray says the City is aware of it’s bear issues and she will be presenting recommendations at the next Committee of the Whole meeting on June 13th. Hopefully an appropriate action and investment will be make by the City or Fernie, and the community will work together to eliminate the unnecessary destruction of bears.

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