Working Together for BC's Bears

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The BC Bear Alliance (BCBA) was established to address key issues identified as challenges to human-bear coexistence and bear conservation, and present solutions to BC provincial and municipal governments or other stakeholders.

Our Vision

As the leading authority on human-bear coexistence in BC, our vision is to unite all voices speaking on behalf of bears, while supporting each other and assisting other stakeholders.

Meet the Team

Members of the BC Bear Alliance include advocates from grass roots Bear Smart community groups to widely recognized conservation groups as well as professional biologists and animal law lawyers, all with a wide range of expertise and various campaign and advocacy styles.

Get Involved

You can help support BCBA initiatives by signing up for Action Alerts. We may encourage you to sign petitions or participate in letter writing campaigns or other initiatives that support our efforts.

Creating a better world where bears and people can coexist

The challenge that lies before the BCBA and all animal welfare and environmental groups is not small: human populations are growing, as is the global demand for food and energy, while the frequency and severity of natural disasters increases with every passing season.

As we all have seen time and time again on the news, all these issues have devastating consequences for animals. It is our role as an alliance, and your role united by the same passion, to create a better world for animals.

We have set an ambitious vision: a world where animal welfare matters and people can live in harmony with Mother Nature. To help us move closer to this goal, we have set some priorities, for now, to coexist with bears and share the same habitats.

We have set some initial priorities to direct our actions

1. Participate in and encourage educational outreach, including public presentations, workshops, and interpretive signage. Strive for consistent messaging and appropriate language in education, communications and news media that accurately and respectfully describes the bear's behaviour and the situation. Work to include language changes to policy and educational documents. Recommend the incorporation of bear/wildlife education and attractant management education into school curriculum.

2. Advocate for improved training for conflict response officers (COS and police agencies) in bear behaviour and non-lethal techniques, as well as independent oversight of the COS including the use of body cameras.

3. Advocate for more rigorous enforcement of Municipal Bylaws and BC Wildlife Act. Recommend stronger wording in existing bylaws/wildlife act, as well as higher fines and increased enforcement. Support bylaw development in communities without them. Provide sample bylaw wording for use province-wide.

4. Propose policy changes to provincial Ministry responsible for rehabilitation of orphaned cubs (FLNRORD), relating to capture, care and release, including specialized training for CO’s on humane treatment of orphaned cubs.

5. Encourage bear-proof solid waste management planning, programs, and policy changes in communities and parks.

6. Encourage communities to include Bear Smart practices in their Official Community Plans (OCP). Support funding initiatives to help communities prepare a Bear Hazard Assessment and Human/Bear Conflict Management Plan.

7. Encourage farmstead subsidies for electric fencing or granary retrofits, improvements to the compensation program, and/or dead stock removal, as well as effective livestock conflict mitigation programs. 

8. Establish a requirement that community planning and green space management includes Bear Smart designs in new developments and eliminates nut/fruit-bearing landscaping in public use areas that have high potential conflict.

9. Recommend centralized and clear leadership/coordination between the Ministries of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations & Rural Development (FLNRORD) and Ministry of Environment (MOE). The Conservation Officer Service (COS) currently operates as an enforcement agency under the MOE, but policies, bear response guidelines, and the Wildlife Act are guided by FLNRORD.

Membership

The Alliance is guided by a five-member steering committee of which two co-chairs represent the membership. Membership is by application; applications will be decided upon by the steering committee.

Steering Committee members are:

Sylvia Dolson, co-chair

Sylvia has been involved with the Get Bear Smart Society since 1996 and was a key player in establishing Whistler as the province’s leading Bear Smart community as well as establishing the provincial Bear Smart Community program. She has helped to build partnerships and alliances with key stakeholders and as such founded the Whistler Bear Working Group and the BC Bear Working Group. She was the catalyst for wildlife officials and police adopting non-lethal options. As a photographer and writer, her favourite pastime is spending time in the company of bears - that is where she feels most at home. Her ultimate vision is not just to protect wildlife; but to inspire a world where wildlife does not need protecting - a world where bears are given the necessary protection and a place to live out their lives in their natural habitats free from harm by humans.

Christine Miller, co-chair

Christine dedicated fifteen years as the Education Coordinator and Executive Director of the North Shore Black Bear Society working tirelessly to reduce preventable bear deaths. During that time, her efforts did not go unnoticed and was awarded the honour of outstanding commitment to leadership and education by the District of North Vancouver in 2017, and the City of North Vancouver’s Environmental Sustainability award for the Society in 2019. She is pleased to have made a significant difference to the understanding, respect and tolerance of black bears. Christine recently retired to independently advocate on behalf of bears. Christine values the establishment and maintenance of good working partnerships with NGOs and municipal and provincial staff as an effective way to reduce unnecessary bear deaths.

Luci Cadman

Luci was the Education Coordinator for the North Shore Black Bear Society for five years before assuming the role of Executive Director at the end of 2020. She is responsible for maintaining relationships with community partners, delivering wildlife presentations, engaging with residents at community events, coordinating outreach and maintaining the Society’s website and social media platforms. Luci’s contributions to the Society’s education programs helped the Society be recognized with an Environmental Sustainability award from the City of North Vancouver in 2019. Luci is certified in bear safety and awareness and as a bear-viewing guide by the Commercial Bear Viewing Association of British Columbia.

Lesley Fox

Lesley Fox is the Executive Director for The Fur-Bearers and is passionate about protecting wildlife. She also serves on the board of directors for the Society for Humane Science and is the president and board chair for the Alberni Community and Womens Service Society (ACAWS). Lesley is a certified Humane Education Specialist through the National Association for Humane and Environmental Education (NAHEE) and graduated with honours from the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in Public Relations, Marketing Communications and Non-Profit Management. She is currently finishing her Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies at Royal Roads University.

Kelly Carson

Kelly has spent more than a decade defending urban wildlife from culls in BC. She joined with leaders in several municipalities, emphasizing a need for education regarding indigenous wildlife, and understanding the movements of the animals as urban development and resource extraction shrink their natural habitat.

Having lived for several years in remote coastal BC Kelly really had the opportunity to observe bears and other large wildlife in their natural state, where their inherent desire to stay away from humans is only suspended by the possibility of a food source.

Current wildlife management in the province is disproportionally represented by hunters and extraction industries, and Kelly hopes to be a part of the change in attitude that is needed to guide a more sustainable, compassionate system.

General Member Groups

(represented by various individuals)

 

Some Insights

Black bears are abundant throughout BC and are extremely adaptable.  Because they are able to take advantage of human-dominated landscapes, the number of interactions with people every year is consistently high. Grizzly bears are less abundant and are in fact at risk, making any negative interaction, especially one with a female, of great conservation concern.

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Human-bear interactions
Last Bear Season 2020/21

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Grizzly bear incidents reported
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Working Together for BC's Bears

Only by changing human attitudes toward bears and their habitat can we begin to address the threats they face.

“We can’t kill or relocate our way out of these problems. Part of the problem is that many of us look at humans and animals as being in conflict. Conflict suggests that there are two parties that don’t agree. Animals are not willing participants.”
Lesley Fox
Fur-Bearers
"Like us, animals feel love, joy, fear and pain, but they cannot grasp the spoken word. It is our obligation to speak on their behalf ensuring their well-being and lives are respected and protected."
Sylvia Dolson
Get Bear Smart Society
“A problem for bears is not so much what we don't know, it's what we think we know that isn't true."

Dr. Lynn Rogers
Biologist

Help Make a Difference

Learn about living with bears; creating bear smart communities; recreating in bear country; bear safety at work; and managing bears (for wildlife officials).