A delay in the full weight of winter has brought on a suspension in hibernation for the region’s bear population, prompting the extension of the WildSafeBC Nelson program.
The WildSafeBC Nelson program has been extended to Dec. 22, said WildSafeBC Nelson community coordinator Lisa Thomson in an email statement.
“Traditionally, the program season goes into hibernation Nov. 30. However, with bears still present within the community, and have been accessing garbage in various areas, the continued presence of WildSafeBC is needed,” she wrote.
Three weeks ago three grizzly bears were spotted several times inside the borders of Rosemont three blocks from the elementary school, according to local reports, as well as in Fairview.
In early October removal of an adult female grizzly bear and her two yearling cubs from the urban confines of Nelson (Fairview) took place.
When three bears returned in mid-October, provincial officials — including Ministry of Environment (MOE) conservation officers and Ministry of Forests (MOF) wildlife biologists —monitored the bears.
In early October a group of 55 environmental and animal care organizations, conservationists, scientists and nature-based businesses signed a joint letter to the Province in opposition of a recently-released plan that “would profoundly change the management of grizzly bears.”
Under the provincial plan, a system of local and regional wildlife advisory committees would be set up across B.C. and create separate grizzly bear management plans.
Revealed in a report called Grizzly Bear Stewardship Framework, the paper outlined information on grizzly bears to be used by the committees to “increase the potential to realize locally desired outcomes for grizzly bears and their habitat.”
But it is the outcomes for the bears that has the coalition in contention.
“The intent of this program, to fragment grizzly bear planning among local and regional committees, composed largely of hunting, trapping, industrial and political interests, is inconceivably irresponsible ... management of all our species at risk requires an independent, expert wildlife stewardship team that is dedicated to conservation of species across the province, on behalf of all British Columbians,” they wrote in the press release.
The coalition alleged that since grizzly bear trophy hunting was banned in the province in 2017, hunting organizations have been lobbying to reopen the hunt.
“The return of licensed hunting will clearly be on the table for the upcoming local and regional committees to consider,” the coalition contended. “Regulations for the conservation of wildlife have not always had the support of local vested interests, especially if a community wants to log or build a ski resort in nearby grizzly bear habitat.”
Source: The Nelson Daily, Oct. 7
Timothy Schafer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Nelson Daily