Vernon has made its way into the list of the most deadly cities for black bears in B.C.
The North Okanagan city ranks No. 5 for the number of black bears killed by BC Conservation Officer Service (BCCOS) last year: 16.
The Fur-Bearers has published data aimed at bringing about change for black bears in British Columbia. The information was obtained through a freedom of information request and spans seven years (2015 – 2021) with information for nearly 400 communities across the province.
“Black bears are killed by the hundreds by government agents in British Columbia, frequently for being near humans or accessing human foods that were left accessible,” said Aaron Hofman, director of advocacy and policy at The Fur-Bearers. “It is important that communities where these bears are killed with extreme frequency are identified and addressed so underlying, systemic causes for negative encounters can be ended. Our Deadliest Communities list was created to try and put into perspective what many residents have decried: too many bears are dying, and not enough is being done about it.”
Topping the list is Prince George: 36, followed by 100 Mile House: 22, Quesnel: 19 and Burns Lake: 17. West Kelowna and Kamloops tied for the No. 7 spot with 13.
But total numbers throughout the seven-year data collected put Kelowna at No. 10 with 59 (tied with Campbell River and Squamish). Vernon is No. 19 for the period with 44 kills.
Between 2015-2021, the BCCOS killed 3,779 black bears. The full list is available at TheFurBearers.com.
“Every community on this list can be concerned about the ongoing trend of bears killed by conservation officers,” said Hofman. “It points to something being out of balance in the ecosystem, or a significant need for education and the implementation and enforcement of bylaws at the local level, as well as provincial enforcement.”
The Fur-Bearers is urging residents to contact their municipal representatives and request wildlife attractant bylaws be implemented, along with education and enforcement.
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