The Bella Coola Valley Tourism Association is working to reduce bear attractants in the valley to keep grizzly bears out of trouble. (Bella Coola Valley Tourism photo)

The Bella Coola Valley Tourism Association is working to reduce bear attractants in the valley to keep grizzly bears out of trouble. (Bella Coola Valley Tourism photo)

Electric fence initiative available for residents to discourage bears

Bella Coola Valley Tourism (BCVT) is partnering with the Grizzly Bear Foundation

In an effort to reduce the bear/human conflicts and improve the safety in our communities, Bella Coola Valley Tourism (BCVT), in partnership with the Grizzly Bear Foundation, is offering valley residents 50 per cent off the purchase price of premium electric fence components.

BCVT recently received a grant from the Grizzly Bear Foundation for the purchase of $5,000 worth electric fence components for the purpose of providing the incentive for residents.

“These are all high quality, heavy duty components.”said Tom Hermance, President of BCVT. “There have been instances where a bear may be unfazed by a poorly designed or under-sized electric fence, especially if they are conditioned to return to a food source. We wanted these components to have more than enough power and deter any bear from gaining entry. When properly sized and installed bear-proof electric fences are extremely effective. Just take a look along Highway 20 to see the difference between fruit trees protected by electric fences and those without. It becomes clear well-sized, properly installed electric fences work and bears quickly learn to avoid fenced trees.

Hermance said the plan is to use all proceeds for a similar promotion next year.

Bears are motivated by food. Once bears have located accessible fruit trees or other human-provided attractants, they’ll linger or even stay close by that food source. It’s the attraction provided by humans that invite bears to stay around. This creates conflicts between residents as well as with other bears and raises safety concerns for the entire community.

“Aside from safety concerns, destroyed bears are bad for the valley’s reputation and to our tourism economy. It’s absolutely critical for the valley’s ecosystems and tourism businesses that bear populations maintain healthy and stable numbers. Employees of over 60 local businesses are jeopardized when the numbers of bears gets too low. We lose our greatest advantage over other B.C. tourist destinations,” he said.

“BCVT is committed to proactive, responsible behavior to reduce bear attractants in our communities. We urge every valley resident to take responsible, preventive measures to safeguard their own property. Properly installed electric fences protect families, communities and wildlife. Together, we can make our valley a considerate and safe place for everyone.”

For purchase enquiries, please contact: info@bellacoola.ca or bellacoola@wildsafebc.com.

Read More: Bear viewing area to close for 10 half days in September on Atnarko River


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