CONTACT

To report  wildlife-human interactions where public safety is at risk call - 1.877.952.7277 (RAPP line) or visit the website at http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/cos/rapp/rapp.html

Email: radium [at] wildsafebc [dot] com
Website: www.wildsafebc.com
Facebook:radium [at] wildsafebc [dot] com Website: www.wildsafebc.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/WildSafeBC-Columbia-Valley-165761776918300/" target="_blank"> www.facebook.com/WildSafeBC-Columbia-Valley-165761776918300/

 

 

 

 

 

Wildlife Safety

WildSafeBC is a program that was developed by the BC Conservation Foundation and is a direct descendant of the very successful Bear Aware program, which has run since 1999. WildSafeBC’s motto "keeping wildlife wild - and communities safe" underscores the belief that if we can keep wildlife living in the wild we can, in turn, make our communities safer for us and keep wildlife from coming to harm.

WildSafeBC has found that if wildlife is kept from becoming food-conditioned or habituated to the presence of humans, then they retain their natural wariness of humans and the potential for conflict can be greatly reduced.

WildSafeBC provides conflict reduction advice for all types of wildlife – everything from bears, coyotes, cougars, deer, raccoons and even rattlesnakes for those communities that have them.
 
Residents concerned about wildlife in their community can contact Wildsafe BC by email at Invermere [at] wildsafebc [dot] com, radium [at] wildsafebc [dot] com or by calling the RAPP line.

WildSafeBC gratefully acknowledges the support of Columbia Basin Trust, The District of Invermere, and The Village of Radium Hot Springs. Without their support this valuable program would not exist.

Thea Rodgers is the Wildsafe BC community coordinator for Radium Hot Springs and RDEK Areas F & G. 

  • This is Thea's first year as a Community Coordinator with WildSafeBC.
  • Thea has a background in environmental research, education, and community work through her Bachelor's degree in Applied Biology from the University of British Columbia.
  • Thea was raised just south of the Columbia Valley, near Fort Steele, BC. She is an avid hiker, mountain biker, rock climber, and skier.
  • Thea looks forward to being out in the valley this summer, working with communities to help educate the public about the value of our local wildlife and the importance of keeping them wild. 
  • If you see Thea out in the community, feel free to say hello!

 

MAKE SURE TO CHECK OUT OUR FACEBOOK PAGE AT WILDSAFEBC COLUMBIA VALLEY!

Wildlife safety tips:

Deer 

Urban deer are becoming more of a problem in communities throughout BC. Normally timid animals, if they become habituated to humans, they can become dangerous.  Once established in a neighbourhood, they become hard to remove, so it is important to ensure that the deer do not become comfortable in your yard. Here are some tips:

  • Do not feed deer - you are not helping them out in the long run;
  • Take away the welcome mat - make your yard unattractive;
  • Chase deer from your property, but remember, it is illegal for you or your dog to injure a deer.

Deer safety tips:

  • Never approach a deer, especially if it has young with it. This is especially important in the spring and summer when the young are hanging out with mom;
  • Be cautious when walking your dog near deer as they see the dog as a predator and may try to attack;
  • If a deer does attack, try to stay upright and cover your head with your arms as they use their sharp hooves to inflict injury;
  • Back off to some form of shelter.

For more information, refer to Wildsafe BC's "DEER" brochure -click here for an online version.

 

Bighorn Sheep

The Radium-Stoddart herd are seen within the Village and on the slopes adjacent to the highway leading out of Radium. The rams are distinguished by their large, curled horns, while the females have shorter horns. These animals may appear tame and oblivious to passersby, but don't be fooled. They are still WILD animals, and need to be treated with caution and respect.

Sheep safety tips: 

  • Never approach the sheep - take your photos from a safe distance;
  • Be cautious when walking your dog near the sheep. They see dogs as predators and may try to attack. Give the sheep a wide berth when you have your dog out for a walk;
  • Be careful in the Spring, when the ewes are protective of their young;
  • Be careful in the Fall when the rut (mating season) begins. 

If you would like to read more about the bighorn population, visit the Friends of Kootenay Website - www.friendsofkootenay.ca.

Bears

Black Bears can be found throughout the Province of BC. Grizzlies may be found everywhere except on Vancouver Island and the Queen Charlotte Islands.

The Village of Radium Hot Springs supports the Bear Aware Program, which is an educational program aimed at helping to reduce human-bear conflicts through education, innovation and cooperation. Keeping your house bear-proof will help keep you, your family and neighbours from encountering bears in your community. 

Bears have insatiable appetites and are natural scavengers. Once they find an easy food source, they will return to that source if it is still available. When a bear encounters humans and does not experience any negative results from that encounter, the bear becomes habituated. This may lead to the bear becoming quite bold and aggressive in its search for food. Once a bear becomes food-conditioned, it usually cannot be rehabilitated and relocation does not work.

We all need to take the appropriate steps to ensure that we aren't attracting bears to our homes and businesses. These steps include, but aren't limited to:

  • storing garbage in a shed or garage;
  • using bear-resistant household containers if you do not have a garage or shed;
  • picking fruit daily as it ripens;
  • replacing fruit trees with non-fruit bearing ones;
  • keeping pet food indoors;
  • cleaning bbq's after use;
  • using a proper compost bin.

If you would like more information on how to avoid attracting bears to your home, please visit the WildsafeBC website (see box for link).

Cougars

Cougars are mostly found in the southern third of BC. They favour rocky and mountain terrain, but will also live in forested and open areas, travelling long distances in search of food. Little is known about what triggers an attack, but we do know that younger children and small pets are most vulnerable to these attacks. A cougar will typically attack from behind its prey,  delivering a crushing bite to the spine or base of the skull. Cougars feed mainly on deer, but will eat most animals, including house pets, coyotes and black bear cubs. 

Many of the safety precautions recommended for bear encounters are also applicable to encounters with cougars. They are:
 

  • Keep your pet on a leash;
  • Keep your smaller children close by - never let them wander on their own;
  • If you are hiking, go as a group. A group is unlikely to be attacked;
  • Reduce the chance of surprising a cougar by allowing it to pick up your scent (keep the wind at your back) and making noise to alert it of your presence;
  • Stay alert and watch for signs. Tracks, droppings, scratched trees and food caches are all signs of a cougar;
  • Never approach cougar kittens - mama is probably close by.

If, despite taking precautions, you encounter a cougar, do as follows:

  • Stay calm and keep it in view. Pick up small children or pets. Back away slowly, ensuring the animal has a clear avenue of escape. Never turn your back or run away;
  • Make yourself look as large as possible. Raise your hands above your head;
  • Maintain eye contact, show your teeth, make loud noises, arm yourself with sticks or rocks;
  • If the cougar attacks, fight back. Keep the animal in front of you at all times. Convince the cougar you are a threat, not prey. Use whatever you can as a weapon.
  • Keep your focus on the cougar's face and eyes.


Although encounters between cougars and humans are rare, they do happen. So take the appropriate precautions when hiking or walking in the woods, or even around the Village, and be safe.