Today’s Poll

Grizzly activity heats up, prompts City to close trails, access road

Timothy Schafer
By Timothy Schafer
May 10th, 2011

Grizzly bear activity has closed one road and two trails in Nelson as ursus arctos horribilis season has come early.

Like the scenario that played out last fall when four grizzly bears had taken up residence in Rosemont and South Nelson, two bears have appeared already this spring, looking for the same meal ticket that the last group did.

As a result, the City has closed some areas around the Nelson Cemetery — including Stanley Street Trail, Mountain Station Burlington Northern Trail and the Highway 6 Nelson Cemetery access road — to public access “until further notice.”

Back in November, 2010, local BC Conservation Foundation Bear Aware director Joanne Siderius said the City needed to adopt a wildlife attractant bylaw to reduce the amount of bear conflicts in Nelson neighbourhoods, and mitigate the impact it ultimately has on bear welfare.

She said a bylaw regulating the storage and presence of garbage in the yards and on the streets would limit the amount of attractants available and decrease the number of bears searching for food near human homes.

Council did not make a motion last year on preparing a bylaw to help reduce human and bear conflicts, nor did they appear to consider the idea.

Last year’s problem revisited

Garbage is a main attractant for bears in Nelson, followed by fruit.

In 2010 there were five grizzly bears and several black bears in the city, with 27 calls to conservation officers concerning black bears, and 31 concerning grizzly bears.

The five grizzly bears were relocated but eight black bears were destroyed.

Siderius also asked council for an amendment to the Waste Management bylaw to include a dawn to dusk clause (no garbage on the curb before 6 a.m. or after 7 p.m.), and that a human and bear conflicts solutions committee be struck.

This year’s problem already

On Saturday a motorist called the Nelson Police Department to report a sighting of two young grizzly bears on Highway 6 near the local cemetery service road. The next day, a hiker reported what likely were the same two bears in the area on hiking trails.

When the man came upon them the bears responded by rearing up on their back legs.

Nelson Conservation was called and advised of both sightings.

Police encourage people to not approach any wildlife and that they can also call the R.A.P.P. line at 1-877-952-7277 to report directly to conservation any incidents involving wildlife that may become a concern.

Animal attractants include:

• Antifreeze; paint, food products, food waste, unclean barbecues, pet food, livestock and livestock feed, beehives, offal, bird feeders containing food (between April 15 and Dec. 1), improper compost, grease barrels that are accessible and accumulation of fruit on the ground.

editor@thenelsondaily.com

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See also

The bears are back in Nelson

Grizzly problem in South Nelson

City needs to reduce attractants for bears

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