SECURING SUCH UNNATURAL ATTRACTANTS as garbage and birdfeeders does not necessarily mean your bear problems are over. Bears are on a continual search for food and if natural foods are available within communities or other developed sites, bears will come. These bears, as with garbage and birdfeeders can become habituated and/or food conditioned, resulting in bears being relocated or euthanized out of concern for public safety. Removing the natural food source within developed areas will encourage bears to move to other more natural areas to feed. This can reduce the level of human bear interactions, reducing public safety concerns and associated human caused bear mortality. By removing natural attractants within developed areas, grizzly bears will be encouraged to move to other areas such as existing wildlife corridors and habitat patches. This will reduce human bear interactions and associated human caused bear mortality. This will contribute to the goal of maintaining habitat connectivity and reducing human caused wildlife mortality in the Bow Valley.
The Bow Valley and Rocky Mountain parks west of Calgary, Alberta have been experimenting with this concept for a number of years now. Bear Conflict Solutions, in cooperation with Alberta Sustainable Resource Development (ASRD), Alberta Tourism Parks and Recreation (ATPR), the Town of Canmore and Municipal District of Bighorn and with funds from the Kananaskis Legacy Fund through Alberta Ecotrust, continue to remove buffalo berry and other berry producing shrubs from developed sites in the Region. This program is testing a bioherbicide on berry producing vegetation. The bio-herbicide is intended to impede regrowth of the freshly cut vegetation, thereby negating the need to return to the area in the future to recut regrowth. This will result in a more cost effective method of attractant removal than is currently in place. Currently, areas will grow back every 5 to 7 years, requiring recutting and additional funding resources.
The objectives of this program are:
- To reduce grizzly and black bear activity within developed sites including townsites, campgrounds and picnic areas. This will reduce human-bear interactions, improve public safety and the resulting human caused bear mortality
- To impede regrowth of natural bear attractants within developed sites through the cutting and subsequent application of a bio herbicide
- To educate the public on the benefits of removing natural attractants from both public and private lands i.e. their homes