According to the Ministry of Environment, the main cause of human-bear conflicts within B.C. is access to non-natural food sources. If bears locate a source of food, such as pet food, improperly stored garbage, dirty barbeques or composts, they will become conditioned to eating at these locations and continually return to these sources of food.

Environment Minister Terry Lake says this information is important when taking preventative measures, saying “we can’t prevent all bear-human conflicts but we can prevent those ones.”

The Ministry of Environment, in partnership with the B.C. Conservation Foundation and the Union of B.C. Municipalities has also created the Bear Smart Community Program. The program is a voluntary, preventative bear conservation program based on a set of criteria that must be achieved in order for a community to be awarded “Bear Smart” status.

The goal of achieving this status is to address the root causes of bear-human conflicts, reduce the risks to human safety and property and reduce the number of euthanized bears.

Squamish, Kamloops, Lions Bay and Whistler are the first B.C. Communities to achieve “Bear Smart” status.

For more information on the Bear Smart Communities program, visit the program’s official website.