The Question will never tire of sounding like a broken record when it comes to protecting wildlife and most especially the local bear population.
Bears are an iconic and fascinating species and whether they are black, brown or grizzled they are deserving of our respect and continued vigilance.
Bear encounters may be down this year but that is absolutely no reason to rest on our laurels. Last summer saw unnecessary bear deaths in the valley including Jeanie, who had come to ambassador as a perfectly behaved black bear.
Translation: she accepted the presence of humans in her habitat without conflict.
However it was humans and wildlife attractants that got her into trouble. A fed bear is a dead bear or so they say.
All efforts to preserve wildlife in its natural state and keep it well away from our human ways is a benefit to this area and its conscientious conservationism. The habitat improvement project that saw 200 native mountain-ash species planted on Blackcomb Mountain as a future food source for bears – and well out of our way – is a perfect example.
It is also why we are pleased to hear a new bear smart restaurant program will be launching this year. Kudos to those who have put the effort into taking the next step of managing our presence as the intrusive species all in an effort to prevent more bears from having to be destroyed.
Education and awareness is key.
Residents of this beautiful valley, engulfed in nature may appreciate it more than visitors but that truly is the real area were diligence must be maintained.
There can be no tolerance or encouragement of people going out in their cars and watching bears on the sides of the area highways and roads.
Part of being bear aware is keeping visitors from getting into bear jams. This is not rocket science – it is a traffic hazard and puts our native species at risk all for fast glimpse and the risk of a fine.
Whistler’s Get Bear Smart society, which is involved in the previously mentioned initiatives, is also trying to prevent concierges and the general public from sending tourists up the Callaghan in particular for bear viewing.
We are all much better off, and especially the bears, if everyone would do the right thing and recommend tourists take a bear viewing tour with one of several professional companies in town.
Not only will bears and unknowledgeable tourists be better off but so will the black bears.
We are collectively responsible for surroundings and it takes a village to keep a black bear undead.