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The community of Sooke let this bear down, say Conservation Officers — 22 Comments

  1. Our residents need to take this issue far more seriously than they do. Our CO’S are vilified when it’s not their fault…theyre doing their jobs -The Conservation Officer Service is an environmental law enforcement agency whose first concern is public safety.

  2. People are stupid and unless there is good education and severe penalties for attracting bears, nothing will change. I currently live in a community with a very active bear presence and the only thing that works is the above, and even then, sometimes people need a good swift kick in the pants!

  3. Lots of people suggest others should volunteer and work for free but very few of those doing the suggesting ever do! Nobody needs to give up their my time if people just do as they suggest…secure your garbage and pick the fruit. I’m sure those who don’t also bring rats and coons into their area as well.

  4. I am new to this lovely town but am sorry to say that when I walk my dog, I bring a trash bag with me and pick up garbage on the side of the roads, in the park, and on the G Goose trail. It seems to be thrown everywhere; pizza boxes, coffee cups all over the place, half eaten food.
    I just don’t get it – besides attracting animals, it’s just gross.

  5. Stretched too thin to go door to door. How about volunteering your time to do your job unpaid? Might save a few.

    • Do you volunteer your time at your job, or do you expect to get paid while your there,asking that of these officers is pretty bold. if the people of Sooke who continue to disregard the information that is constantly being shared on all media about what to do to keep bears safe as well as themselves, there would be no problems like this.

  6. I have read that in other areas of the province, where bears are prevalent, the local municipalities and regional governments take the initiative and provide incentives such as bear-proof depots for garbage and recycling, and/or selling or providing discounts or partnering with local merchants that carry bear proof garbage and recycling containers for sale, so that such items are more affordable for families and readily available. I think there is more that can be done by our municipality in order to education and motivate residents to take action.

  7. for those with fruit trees, or gardens loaded with food that you can’t use….rather than leave it to rot or attract wildlife….pick it and give it to the sooke food bank….. Some people are so insensitive and self centered that they turn a blind eye when it comes to their garbage or gardens….but will sure point their fingers at everyone else…..come on people!!! Be responsible!!! you can stop the slaughter simply by securing your garbage and picking your fruit….if you can’t use the fruit or whatever you have growing in your garden….there is a perfectly good food bank looking for food donations!

  8. Some people are so insensitive and self centered that they turn a blind eye when it comes to their garbage….but will sure point their fingers at everyone else…..come on people!!! Be responsible!!! you can stop the slaughter simply by securing your garbage and picking your fruit….if you can’t use the fruit or whatever you have growing in your garden….there is a perfectly good food bank looking for food donations!

  9. http://www.revelstokecurrent.com/2009/11/27/revelstoke-could-be-an-official-bear-smart-community-but-there-is-a-price-tag/

    we are in bear country! this is one of our worst years,is the new food scrap program a coincidence or part of the cause ???? might be good for some kind of a composting program that isn’t set up yet! but I don’t believe it has been good for our bears, bears have an amazing sense of smell. I have a composter which continues be only for raw veg, coffee grounds things not cooked and no protein, i have never had the bears come around it. Our town council has to take a more proactive stance on this, fines need to be issued, and people need to change their ways. it hurts when people say, i am glad I’m not from sooke.

  10. education is needed on a larger basis, starting with elementary school and continuing through to high school, a course within the regular curriculum,
    teaching students sustainable local living practises, wildlife precautions and awareness, including gardening, salmon enhancement and watershed protection
    until this is practised everyday and becomes the normal function of society there will be conflicts

  11. …the CO’s do a very hard job….anyone and everyone who leaves out attractants need to face a large fine…the only way to wake up these fools is to hit them in the wallet!!!!! get off your lazy asses and pick your fruit and put your garbage away!!!

  12. This is an abbreviation of the article I posted with this editorial on my facebook page. I came under some heavy fire from flamers for the stance I’ve taken the issues regarding wildlife/human conflict within Sooke.

    “…In 15 years on this farm, I’ve only had one bear trap set by conservation, which if I recall correctly, was back in 2006. The bear had been habituated by a local farmer down the road because of poor animal husbandry practices and had become a true danger. That individual was indeed charged under the Wildlife Act after many folks in our area lodged numerous complaints against her. Sadly, the bear paid the ultimate price for that person’s ignorant behaviour and is now gone forever.

    I find it interesting that we here in the rural areas of Sooke tend to have fewer incidents with bears than those living in the densely populated areas of town. In addition, it appears that most of the urban bear incidents end in the death of an animal. Examples being; example; the bear who was shot this past summer in the Frances Gardens Housing Co-Op on Throup Road and the most recent one on Grant Road East who was euthanized.

    In reality, it’s the rural folk who live with a much higher wildlife population than people in residential areas of town. So why is it the urban areas of Sooke are having so much trouble with wildlife? Does anyone stop to wonder why these animals seem to be attracted to these populated areas?

    Well the wildlife problems could be due to a lot of reasons, such as; public ignorance regarding wildlife safety; resistance to public education campaigns; a strong sense of self entitlement to land usage or simply people not caring about the impact their actions are having on the local wildlife. However, in my opinion, a major contributing factor to the issues surrounding wildlife/human conflicts appears to be the fact that people in urban areas are literally setting a veritable smorgasbords for wild animals. Of course wild animals are going to leave their natural habitats and gravitate toward areas where unnatural food sources are readily available for them to thrive on. When combined with the familiarizing presence of people, you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

    When we put feeders in our yards to attract birds, we typically enjoy the company of wild birds. When we don’t effectively manage wildlife attractants, it stands to reason we will attract wildlife. The danger with this is scenario is we attract animals with the potential to physically hurt or even kill people.

    Out here in the rural areas, we live with the presence of wild animals everyday. I’m not talking about deer and raccoons. We live with apex predators on a regular basis and accept the fact that these wild animals were here before us so the natural space surrounding us is their home too. Managing wildlife attractants is simply a way of life in the country so we respect that fact by governing ourselves accordingly. That way we ALL stay safe.

    Also, rural folk tend to avoid calling conservation officers when a bear passes through a yard or is seen walking down the road and we rarely insist on a trap being set. It’s a common farm practice to assess a situation and figure out what needs to be remedied before going to extremes. That usually means harvesting gardens, picking fruit, checking composts, locking up livestock at night, owning a dog or having sensor lights with a radio playing outside. In other words, we hold ourselves accountable and clean up our act if we do cause a problem. Typically in rural communities, when one of our own does create wildlife/human conflicts that puts us all at risk, we tend to step in and take the appropriate measures to assure compliance with the Wildlife Act. It’s as simple as that. It’s all about avoiding the drama, keeping everyone safe and not costing a wild animal its life.

    There’s a common saying among animal rescuers, “99% of the time an animal doesn’t have a behavioural problem, it has a people problem.” It appears the same could be said for wild animals and the problem seems to be the general public.

    Recently, conservation officers have taken an unprecedented step of releasing a public statement laying the blame for habituating bears squarely on the shoulders of Sooke residents. These officers have clearly stated they do NOT want to kill bears and do NOT go out looking for bears to kill but they are mandated to do their jobs and WILL kill bears who pose a public safety risk.

    I’ve read their statement and I’ve had dialogue with these professionals. Over a long period of time, I’ve read the vast majority of social media comments, both on this page and others, and I’ve also witnessed the actions, or lack of, within our community regarding wildlife. You know what folks? I believe what they’re saying.

    That being said, a credible group, who has requested their name not be dragged into these types of debates, has also voiced their frustration despite their best efforts to educate the public on how to live in harmony with our local wildlife. They want to help but it would seem many people are just not listening.

    It is NOT up to other groups to pick your fruit or get the vegetables from your gardens. Harvest them yourselves for heavens’ sake! If you can’t use it all, why don’t you just do the right thing and donate the bounty to feed hungry people within the community?

    The same concept goes for the municipal areas with blackberry bushes that one of the flamers complained about. I’m not making excuses for the municipality. They need to clean up their act too and perhaps fines are also in order. However, if these areas are posing a significant risk as bear attractants, then take the bull by the horns and do something about it rather than complaining or using it as an argument to deflect responsibility. It’s your community. It’s your safety. It’s your kids at risk. Show some initiative!

    As for household garbage, use some common sense already. A flimsy garbage tote is NOT Fort Knox to a bear! Neither is keeping garbage cans in your yard, beside the house or putting it to the curb hours and hours before pick up. Add food products to that scenario and it’s doubtful a bear could resist that temptation. It’s not as if a bear is able to rationalize whether or not to get into garbage when it’s readily available and smells great. Using bear proof garbage cans and proper disposal methods is the responsibility of the homeowner NOT the conservation officer, municipality or a wildlife education group. Grow up!

    If you live in a housing co-operative, come together as a collective and insist upon your community using a large public bear proof disposal bin so the garbage is not lined up like an all you can eat buffet on pick up day. As for the cost of the bin and disposal, that’s what strata fees were created for. Suck it up and do your part.

    The facts are, Sooke is NOT doing its part in managing bear attractants, some residents appear to be unwilling to change their habits and there ARE residential areas within the community that ARE considered “hot spots” for wildlife/human conflict by the authorities. The facts are the facts and I didn’t make them up. It was not my property that was on the six o’clock news as a bear was being killed last summer in front of cameras nor was the bear recently euthanized trapped on my farm.

    All I have to say to those of you who took it to a personal level and said they were withdrawing their support from Sacred Circle Farm … this “attention seeking”, “meddling moron” isn’t a “liar” when she says that none of you have ever visited my “shambled” farm with the “glass house” nor have any of you lifted a finger or even bought a dozen eggs to help support my work within this community so this “idiot” won’t be losing any sleep over it.

    I’m no stranger to controversy and slinging insults at me isn’t going to change the facts nor is it going to shut me up. I call it as I see it and at least I have the guts to say what needs to be said.

    At the end of the day, bears are dying in Sooke because of what people are, or are not, doing. The actions of a selfish few has put many at risk and has cost several wild animals their lives. Our wildlife and wild heritage deserves better.”

  13. I took offence at whoever took CHEK TV videos on Throup Road in Sooke in the TV rendition of the bear being killed ! Why was this? The bear was killed on Grant Road East – well south of this location. Trust our wonderful Sooke Pocket News to get it right! 🙂 The videographer also took background pictures of Sooke Disposal garbage cans and compost bins (all neat and tidy) at the ends of driveways on Throup Road … thus indicating that – somehow – these home owners were doing something wrong!!! The bears NEVER get into these … in our experience! To say that these people are responsible for the bear being put down is RIDICULOUS!!!!

  14. I sleep outside and call myself an outdoorist because homeless implies I’m missing out somehow and I can tell you that I have been grieving immensely at the news that your “conservation” officer shot a bear after it was caught in a trap that was meant to be used for relocation. I feel better this morning because I saw my friend “Mr. Polite Bear” who I thought was the one who got shot dead. Everyone tries to do the right thing but that does not take away my right to be upset and to wish that those who think bears are a nuisance would just move to Fort Mac and let some people who get that this is BC be able to move hear and enjoy the elements. We are the problems. We are guilty of screwing with climate and disturb their lifestyle and they may not be able to adapt fast enough. If someone has to take blame for the bears behavior it’s mankind. I am not looking for sympathy. I am plain furious.