A grizzly bear in a fruit tree in Elkford in 2018. (Clayton Lamb / University of British Columbia)

A grizzly bear in a fruit tree in Elkford in 2018. (Clayton Lamb / University of British Columbia)

District of Elkford touts 2021 bear record, promotes bear safety

In 2021, none of the 31 Elk Valley bear euthanizations were in Elkford

The District of Elkford is touting the town’s clean record in 2021 for bear deaths, and is promoting bear awareness for their community.

In a July 26 Facebook post from the district, it says that out of 31 bears euthanized in 2021 in the Elk Valley, according to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, none of the deaths were attributed to Elkford.

“Can our community make it two years running with zero bears destroyed? We think so!”

The district post asked all residents and businesses to help them protect local wildlife, adding that ‘fed bears are dead bears’, and that following guidelines can help reduce wildlife attractants and the risks of urban encounters dramatically for the community.

“With recent sightings of both grizzlies and black bears in town, we thought this would be a great time to share some reminders about being a bear-friendly community!”

To that end, the district listed the following guidelines.

First is proper disposal and secure storage of trash. Second is removing bird feeders during the months when bears are awake. Third is regular cleaning of barbecues. Fourth is to feed pets indoors. Fifth is to compost responsibly. Sixth is to harvest all fallen fruit and berries from trees. Seventh is to store food and food waste securely while camping. Last is to use bear-resistant garbage bins, which can be inquired about with the Public Works Department at 250-865-4025.

The post goes on to detail how to properly secure garbage, and concludes with a strong warning against feeding bears.

“Lastly, NEVER EVER feed bears intentionally or encourage them to enter your yard, visit your campsite, interact with you or play with your pets!

“We will keep this very simple: feeding bears is not just dangerous, it is illegal.

“Remember that by food-conditioning bears or habituating them to humans and domestic dogs, you are endangering those who later encounter those bears. Your actions will also ultimately lead to the death of the bears you’ve chosen to feed.”

The post says that under the B.C. Wildlife Act, those convicted of feeding bears face a fine of up to $50,000 and/or six months in prison.

“Please be safe, be responsible and report any conflict or dangerous run-ins with bears to the B.C. Conservation Officer RAPP line at 1.877.952.7277.”

READ MORE: Co-existing with grizzly bears in the Elk Valley

READ MORE: A tough year for bears in the Elk Valley: Dozens euthanized, more killed in collisions


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