The number of grizzlies spotted around Kaslo more than doubled last year, while black bear numbers dropped, says an organization that works to keep wildlife and humans apart.
WildSafeBC submitted its 2022 report to Kaslo Village council, noting that there were 25 black bear reports in the village and Area D, 11 grizzly sightings, and for the first time in three years a cougar. No deer were reported this season, unlike previous years.
“In 2022, wildlife activity reported was somewhat decreased compared to 2021,” says a report to council.
WildSafe had a community co-ordinator stationed in Kaslo and Area D from early summer into the fall, with funding split between the Regional District of Central Kootenay and the village. The co-ordinator promotes good practices to reduce human-bear interactions and develops programs for homes, local campgrounds and businesses.
However, they say the reason bears are attracted to Kaslo is well-known.
“Fruit trees continue to be a main source of attractants in the community. These trees draw wildlife into residential areas,” says the report. “Bears have been reported damaging trees and remaining in people’s yards, which affects the safety of the neighbourhood.”
Several areas have been identified as hotspots in the community and would benefit from increased education, tree trimming or removal, and/or fruit-gleaning activities.
The report recommends that this year’s co-ordinator should hold electric fence demonstrations and workshops, hold door-to-door campaigns in those hotspots, and develop strategies to manage fruit attractants with an eye to enhancing food security.
Council received the report at its Jan. 24 meeting, and also voted in favour of helping pay for a WildSafeBC coordinator to be stationed in the community next season.
“The Village of Kaslo is working towards becoming a Bear Smart community,” notes a staff report. “The partnership with WildSafeBC furthers this goal and allows the village to assist residents in reducing conflicts with wildlife in a cost-effective manner.”
The village will put up $2,000 of the required $5,000 contribution from local government, with the RDCK picking up the rest.