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LETTER: Continuing to work on human-wildlife conflict vital for community

Editor: It is now December, the bears are well on their way to hibernation, and we reflect on another busy bear season in the Canmore area. Our WildSmart staffer Nick de Ruyter recently attended the Sixth International Human-Bear Conflict Workshop in

Editor:

It is now December, the bears are well on their way to hibernation, and we reflect on another busy bear season in the Canmore area. 

Our WildSmart staffer Nick de Ruyter recently attended the Sixth International Human-Bear Conflict Workshop in the USA, and brought home several noteworthy findings. Most significant was the fact wildlife managers view our efforts here in Canmore, particularly garbage management and our wildlife-proof bins, as a best practice – so much so that the seventh such international workshop will be held here. 

The recent efforts of the Town of Canmore’s dedicated and hard-working staff and council over the years – working in coordination with provincial officials – are being noticed on the international stage.

In our office this year, we’ve observed next-level efforts by the Town on both the education and enforcement fronts; and we had record numbers of Canmore citizens – double from last year, in fact – borrowing our fruit-pruning equipment, doing their part to keep bears out of trouble. Town enforcement for infractions of our fruit-tree bylaw has also increased from last year. 

The goal of achieving absolute perfection on this front will remain an elusive one. We would like to acknowledge, on the one hand, the positive steps we’ve made as a community in raising awareness about, and implementing measures to reduce human-bear conflicts.

On the other hand, we fully acknowledge that we need to continue to work toward a better coexistence with bears in the Bow Valley.

Hugh Notman, chair

Gareth Thomson, executive director

Biosphere Institute of the Bow Valley