Developing community-wide solutions
According to B.C.’s Bear Smart Community Program – Background Report, human-bear conflict management plans should be developed based on community-specific bear hazard assessments and implemented by the community’s Bear Stewardship Committee.
The plan should include all of the information necessary to satisfy the criteria for a Bear Smart community. This includes sections on how agencies and organizations will cooperate, who will pay for and be responsible for implementing which parts of the plan, and how to develop and implement an education program, an effective bear-proof solid waste management system, and accompanying Bear Smart bylaws. How to monitor the effectiveness of the plan, measure success and communicate results to the public are also important aspects of any human-bear conflict management plan.
There is no need to unjustly fear bears. When we can replace fear and ignorance with respect, then people will become more tolerant, and will be more likely to take the appropriate steps toward human-bear coexistence. – Whistler Black Bear Management Plan
Community and political support is as important as the content of your human-bear management plan. To be effective, it must enjoy the full support and authorization of the governments and agencies that ultimately are responsible for wildlife management, human safety and community development. The appropriate politicians (the local mayor and council, for instance) and department heads (municipal planners and regional wildlife managers) should be involved in deciding which strategies will be implemented, taking into account social, liability and economic considerations. Convening a Bear Stewardship Committee is a great way to ensure that all stakeholders communicate and collaborate effectively as programs are implemented.
For more information and a detailed outline, please refer to section 8 in B.C.’s Bear Smart Community Program – Background Report, or download Whistler’s Bear Management Plan.