We are dismayed that our local conservation services are now out killing our local bears in addition to our coyotes. Both conservation services and the Bear Aware people have told us that Kamloops is one of the “leading bear aware” communities. So, we did a tour through the neighbourhoods of downtown Kamloops and its suburbs only to find countless garbage bins full of garbage sitting in driveways, at the sides of houses and in back alleys and yards. How bear aware is this?!
Upon calling City bylaw services we were informed that it is not illegal to leave garbage out uncontained as long as it is on your property! It is only illegal to place your garbage can at the curb before 4 a.m. on pick–up day. There is a by-law that states you can’t leave bear attractants out but bylaws adamantly told us they do not enforce this bylaw except in cases where they receive a complaint about a specific individual.
Conservation services and Bear Aware have told us that the onus for these urban-wildlife problems lies completely with the public and that conservation services hold no responsibility for killing these animals. I strongly disagree. I believe that there are two parties responsible for these deaths. One is the public who must take the appropriate steps to make sure these animals are not lured into our city by garbage.
The other equally responsible party is our local conservation service. They must make the choice to deal with urban wildlife issues with non-lethal means. Other communities are dedicated to this approach. Why aren’t we?
Our conservation services should employ strategies used by other communities such as posting signs in areas frequented by wildlife, requesting that the public take the necessary precautions like keeping cats indoors, dogs on leashes, garbage contained, etc.
They also need to implement a hazing program that involves chasing wildlife out of the city using noise makers and so on. This strategy has been used successfully in other communities.
There are many other alternatives to killing, and the current mentality and practices of our local conservation services is unacceptable, inhumane and unnecessary.
AND CLAUDETTE LAFFEY