Non-lethal bear management and the trained professionals who do it are an integral part of building Bear Smart communities.
Although responsibly managing bear attractants and human activities is the first step in creating Bear Smart communities, non-lethally managing bears that wander into our communities despite our best efforts is inevitable – and essential.
These two strategies are the cornerstone of Bear Smartness. Without managing attractants, bear managers will regularly be forced to kill significant numbers of habituated and/or food-conditioned bears that will inevitably frequent our communities. And without non-lethal bear management, any unhabituated bears that inevitably show up looking for handouts will eventually develop bad habits that can only lead to trouble for both people and bears.
This makes bear managers an important partner in the process of building Bear Smart communities. On top of actually managing local bears, they can be effective advocates for Bear Smart practices throughout the community, and they can help support the work of local politicians and Bear Smart practitioners.
Their training and extensive experience with the local bear population also makes them important sources of information. They should be involved from the very beginning in local Bear Stewardship Committees, and in the development of bear hazard assessments and human-bear conflict management plans.
So get involved and help your community become Bear Smart!