The District of Squamish has secured wildlife coordination experts Humane Solutions to provide wildlife services for Squamish, including wildlife education and community engagement.
“Because of our location, Squamish’s relationship with wildlife is a delicate one that requires our ongoing attention and stewardship,” says District of Squamish Mayor Karen Elliott. “We want wildlife to stay wild, so it is imperative that we all do our part. Humane Solutions will take up the critical role to educate residents in order to mitigate and limit wildlife interactions. Our goals are twofold – to safely co-exist with wildlife whether out on the trails or within our neighbourhoods, and to protect the species that live here.”
Squamish ranks among the top 10 communities in B.C. for black bear reports to the Conservation Officer Service, and unsecured wildlife attractants continue to be the leading cause of bear conflict in the community.
These predominantly include garbage, organics and fruit trees. Although the District’s wildlife attractant management bylaw is an important element, education continues to be a key component of the District’s efforts to reduce human-wildlife conflicts.
“Education, innovation and collaboration are critical to mitigating human-wildlife conflict and our team is committed to maintaining industry best practices while also focusing on sustainability and welfare,” says Humane Solutions Chief Operating Officer Emma Harris. “We look forward to engaging with residents and stakeholders across the community of Squamish.”
Humane Solutions will complement their coordination and education efforts through their services to Squamish which include:
Preparation and maintenance of a bear hazard assessment of the community and a human-bear conflict management plan
Implementation of a continuing education program directed at all sectors of the community, consistent with the Bear Smart program and wildlife attractant bylaw.
Assistance with the development and maintenance of a bear-proof waste management system.
Coordination of communication strategies for wildlife conflict prevention and known conflict hotspots.
Short-term efforts will focus on bear awareness and education while maintaining the District’s Bear Smart status, while long-term efforts will focus on developing human-wildlife conflict and co-existence strategies. The team is expected to begin educational outreach with elementary schools on living with wildlife before the end of this school year.