New website helps reduce wild animal encounters

FVRD staff will also be popping up at special events this summer to remind residents how to avoid conflicts with animals.

A new website makes it easier to report wildlife encounters.

A new website makes it easier to report wildlife encounters.

Bears in Marble Hill, cougars in Sardis and coyotes on Promontory.

Those are just some of the human-wildlife conflicts reported locally this spring, out of 212 sightings in the Fraser Valley this year so far.

Some of the animals were attracted to garbage or compost,  while others were injured or aggressive, according to an online mapping tool provided by Wild Safe B.C. They’ve been mapping sightings for the public for the last three years. But the map goes beyond telling residents which animals are in their neighbourhood.

It also teaches them how to reduce conflict, how to act when encountering certain animals, and how to remove attractants from their property.

It’s called the Wildlife Alert Reporting Program, and is completely interactive and searchable for the entire province. The map gives a comprehensive look at human-wildlife conflicts, particularly in suburban neighourhoods that are in or near forested areas.

Wild Safe B.C. reminds residents that as the weather warms up, and more humans are enjoying the outdoors, more conflicts are bound to arise.

Rebecca McMurray is the community coordinator for the Fraser Valley Regional District, working with the help of ambassadors Haily Deptuck and Gavin Noa. They’ll be popping up at special events throughout the summer to remind residents how to avoid conflicts with animals, with the intention of keeping neighbourhoods safe as well as local wildlife.

Thirty-six of the 212 reported sightings earlier this year were related to garbage. They advise residents to keep garbage inside or secured until the day of collection. Garbage is the number one attractant cited in reports to the provincial hotline. But untended fruit trees with food rotting at the base is also a major attractant for black bears.

Garbage-habituated bears are often put down, as they will continue to come into residential areas for an easy meal.

For tips on reducing conflicts with local wildlife, visit wildsafebc.com. Questions about attractant management can be sent to 604-702-5005 or by email to fvrd@wildsafebc.com.

Immediate wildlife concerns should be reported to RAPP at 1-877-952-7277.