–Wild Wise Sooke
Wild Wise Sooke Community Coordinator Debbie Read says communication is the one of the most important pieces of her program.
“It starts with the education process,” she says.
Wild Wise Sooke encourages people to immediately them if they see a bear in a place where it shouldn’t be, including in your backyard. They will help to identify the attractions and make public aware of the Bear in Area.
“You see it in the backyard and think it’s not harming anybody, but that is the first step in the bear becoming habituated,” observes Read. “We’ve really been trying to get that message out to people. People have been reluctant to call because they think the bear will be destroyed. That is not what we do. Our approach is preventive, we will come over and try and identify the attraction, remove this so the bear will not have a food source in the area.”
They also will post signs that read, Bear in Area – Secure Attractants, to alert the neighbourhood.
Wild Wise Sooke uses a variety of communication methods to keep the public informed.
“Whether I’m doing a school presentation or putting up Bear in Area signs, talking with passers-by or radio interviews, paper interviews, City Council, or Facebook and social media … my goal is to keep the conversation around human wildlife conflict at the forefront of people’s minds,” Read said. “When that conversation takes on a life of its own, like in homes, in cafés, on social media, at city hall meetings, that is when you see real behavioural change. And we are seeing that happen in Sooke.”
According to Read, last year was the first year that Bear in Area signs were used. It was a successful pilot because it got people talking to each other, and to her. She also believes that it is effective for Sooke because it blankets an area and can reach second homeowners and visitors – groups who are often missed when going door-to-door.
Bear conflict reports with Wild Wise Sooke are down for this time of year, compared to previous years.
People are keeping their garbage in a secure building, cleaning, barbecues, feeding pets indoors and putting the bird feeders way for the summer,” observed Read. “There has been a big improvement in Sooke.”
“I think at the end of the day, it’s about people talking and neighbours working together. I think it’s all how you address it,” she said. “We take the time, and go and explain everything to them. Most people care about bears; some do not. But everybody cares about personal safety.”
- The importance of properly storing garbage: be bear wise!
- Understanding (and avoiding) bear habituation, so no bears have to die
- Wild Wise Sooke: Bears out in Sooke, full force!
- Sooke man chases bear away from the safe side of the window (video)
- Increased bear sightings, what you need to know, and how to keep bears alive
- Bear sightings at Potholes, between parking lots 3 and 2
- How bears communicate (Video)
- A sure sign of spring for residents of Sooke is the return of bears.
- Bear in Area signs emerge from hibernation
- Bear conflicts are on the rise
- Recent bear sightings in Sooke
- Wild Wise Sooke sees wildlife management improvements in Sooke
- Wild Wise Sooke’s education program has reduced bear kills by 75% in the last six years
- Wild Wise Sooke reminds SUNRIVER residents to store garbage indoors and manage attractions
- Reminder from Wild Wise Sooke: Bears are emerging from the hills
- Be bear-wise in Sooke: Bear-proof your yard
- First bear destroyed, Wild Wise Sooke urges education
- Be Bear Wise: Wild Wise Sooke suggests spring cleaning, minimize attractants
- Good to Know: How to deal with a surprise encounter with a black bear
- Bear sightings are up in Sooke
- Bear killed near Francis Gardens in Sooke
- Living harmoniously with wild life in Sooke is the primary objective of the newly established “Wild Wise Sooke”