We Can Do Better For BC's Black Bears

It is time for systemic changes to how community conflict with black bears is managed as deaths continue to rise, and signs of eroded public trust in the Conservation Officer Service become more apparent.

On the heels of numerous reports of black bears being killed by conservation officers due to human activity – namely failing to manage attractants in neighbourhoods – social media comments and media reports are indicating it is time for change.

“We know that attractants and inappropriate human behaviour are the leading cause for conflict with wildlife, yet through their funding structure and actions, conservation officers focus instead of killing bears rather than working with communities to make change,” says Michael Howie, spokesperson with The Fur-Bearers. “If the COS was focused on prevention and actual change, we’d expect to see fines and potentially charges every time they kill a bear. Instead all we get is a dead bear and a shocked community.

"We believe that the Conservation Officer Service – when properly funded and given appropriate oversight – is just as integral to an ecologically healthy British Columbia where residents can co-exist with wildlife,” Howie adds. “But it has to start with acknowledging we can’t kill our way out of these problems.”

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There are three simple asks:

  1. That conservation officers be directed to show preventative measures, fines, and other educational tools are utilized prior to lethal measures and that third-party oversight be put into place to review and advise the actions of armed law enforcement agents.
  2. That funding be made available to any municipality to increase by-law enforcement activities, specifically related to wildlife feeding and attractants.
  3. That both the RAPP line and by-law enforcement departments begin accepting anonymous information regarding by-law or provincial infractions that put wildlife and people at risk.

This campaign is hosted by The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals. We will protect your privacy, and keep you informed about this campaign and others.