Castlegar has seen a below-average number of bear complaints this year, which conservation officers credit at least in part to the city’s new curbside composting program.
Corporate services director Tracey Butler told city council this week that no bears have been destroyed in Castlegar since spring, when four very habituated bears who had a hard time hibernating were put down.
“We’ve had a very successful year so far,” she said. “We’ve done really, really well.”
Butler said the organics program “has made a huge difference” helped by the fact people are using organics carts to get rid of unwanted nuts and fruit, a common bear attractant.
The provincial RAPP line, which takes calls about wildlife conflicts, has had 78 calls from Castlegar so far this year, including 42 from September to Oct. 25.
By comparison, Nelson has had 152 calls, 100 of them from September to October, while families of black bears and grizzlies roam the city. Trail has had 99 calls, with 39 in the same period, and Rossland has had 52, with 33 in the past two months. But those numbers are nowhere near Prince George, which has had over 4,200 bear complaints.
Butler said the BC Conservation Service had a clear message: “We don’t destroy bears in garbage. We only destroy bears that have gone further and are ripping apart property, trying to enter people’s houses or garages.
“If a bear is in your garbage, that’s your problem. Do something about it. They’re being strict about that. They don’t want to destroy bears.”