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More important than ever to be ‘Bear Smart’ in the West Kootenay

Family of bears wandering downtown Trail on Monday; RCMP destroyed one bear on May 15

John Piccolo shares these photos he took Monday afternoon in downtown Trail.

He says the mother bear and her three cubs were cruising the alley between Bay and Cedar Avenue, checking out dumpsters.

Piccolo says they were last seen crossing over to the former St. Anthony’s Church, and climbing up a tree before he left.

Conservation was called.

Sadly, one bear has already been killed after frequenting downtown Trail in search of food scraps.

The Trail Times has contacted the West Kootenay Conservation Officer Service, and will update once we hear back.

Read more: RCMP destroy bear in downtown Trail

Bear Smart

Every year hundreds, and in some years over a thousand, bears are destroyed as a result of conflicts between people and bears. In rare instances, people are also injured or even killed as a result of these conflicts. Most of these problems begin when people allow bears to access non-natural food sources such as garbage.

The Bear Smart Community program has been designed by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy in partnership with the British Columbia Conservation Foundation and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities. It is a voluntary, preventative conservation measure that encourages communities, businesses and individuals to work together.

The goal is to address the root causes of human-bear conflicts, thereby reducing the risks to human safety and private property, as well as the number of bears that have to be destroyed each year.

This program is based on a series of criteria that communities must achieve in order to be recognized as being “Bear Smart.”

The responsibility to manage human-bear conflicts rests with everyone; Bear Smart will require participation from the provincial government, municipal governments, and local citizens to be successful.


A brochure outlining the Bear Smart Community program, as well as a technical background report, are available. The background report is for use by communities that are interested in pursuing this initiative and provides detailed information on each of the criteria, including examples of their successful application.

“Bear Smart” information

“Bear Smart” background

Know Your bears

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Sheri Regnier

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