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Posted 10/27/2017 Ref # 6282

Wildlife Corridor Management Benefits From Team Approach

Dear Editor:

Effective communication can accomplish much. A group of nature-lovers and conservationists was concerned about the clearing of vegetation beneath BC Hydro’s power lines in a North Vancouver wildlife corridor, and BC Hydro was contacted. Subsequently, an educational walk on the Richard Juryn trail was organized.

David Cook, a retired biologist and longtime volunteer with the North Shore Black Bear Society summarized his multi-year study of bear feeding habits in the area and shared his preliminary findings on the possible inverse relationship between the availability of natural food sources and the number of bear sightings in residential areas.

BC Hydro’s Martin Lundy and Rene Roddick explained their vegetation management decisions and procedures. In a cycle of three to five years, BC Hydro eliminates trees near its transmission and distribution power lines to reduce contact incidents and keep the public safe from electrical hazards. This year, BC Hydro also removed the debris under the power line by the Richard Juryn trail, removing a fire hazard and creating a fire break in a wildfire situation.

BC Hydro representatives left with a better understanding of resident and society concerns about preserving wildlife habitat, and the participants gained information about how and why vegetation management is completed by BC Hydro. It was a perfect example of how a good communication strategy can achieve positive results, including a commitment to work together in the future.

Christine Miller
North Shore Black Bear Society

Posted 10/16/2017 Ref # 6281

We All Share The Blame For B.C Bear Deaths

SULLIVAN: We all share the blame for B.C bear killings

Over the last couple of years, I’ve sort of established a tradition for this column.

Every year, around this time of year, I write about bears, mainly about the conflict between bears and people and how it always comes out bad for the bears.

This year is no different; or more accurately, its’s different because it’s worse.

Last year at this time, 145 bears were killed in British Columbia. For being bears. That doesn’t include the number of bears hunted for mere sport. These bruins were dispatched for doing what comes naturally: foraging for food and protecting their young. The problem is bears become habituated to the easy pickin’s in people’s trash cans, orchards and bird feeders. So we kill them because we can’t think of anything else to do with them, a fatal failure of the imagination.

This year’s tally is just out and, incredibly, nearly 500 bears have been killed by conservation officers, 469 black bears and 27 grizzlies across the province. As usual, on the North Shore, we’re doing our part: on Aug. 1, Brent Richter in the North Shore News reported that six bears had been killed so far this year for being bears in North and West Vancouver. Three of the bears started life as the darlings of West Van and then they grew up, unfortunately, with a taste for people food, a crime calling for capital punishment, so they didn’t make it through their second summer. Sophomore slump.

I guess we should be thankful that the number of bears put down is a relatively small percentage of the total number of wildlife complaints in B.C. This year there have been more than 20,000 complaints about wildlife, the vast majority – 14,000 – about black bears, 430 about grizzlies.

No report on the complaints from bears about humans.

I’m not sure why I have taken to writing this annual lament about the plight of the bears. The rising toll makes it clear that the problem is getting worse. And I can’t see it getting better: more people mean more encounters with wildlife, all ending badly for the wildlife. We kill more bears each year, and then tempt the rest with more tasty garbage.

It’s almost as if we’re luring them to their demise.

So it’s clear my annual tirade is not working on people; maybe it’s time to head into the woods and warn the bears to stay away from people. That could be dangerous. Bears don’t write letters to the editor.

I get it. I realize that bears are big predators that pose a hazard to humans, and that the provincial government just thinks it’s being responsible when it puts down problem bears.

But consider the bears. In so many ways, they define the magic of Super, Natural British Columbia. They are at the top of the food chain, emblems of the health of the entire ecosystem. Bears being bears, it’s pretty much up to us to sustain that ecosystem, and that means you and me, not just a team of long-suffering conservation officers who are between a rock and a hard place when it comes to dealing with all these encounters.

Fortunately, we are not alone; we have help. A repository of wisdom and sanity re: bears, the excellent North Shore Black Bear Society, is a mere click away. Did you know, for example, you’ve got a better chance of winning the lottery than being killed by a black bear? That 57 people have been killed by bears in North America in the last 105 years, while 300 are killed by bee stings every year? Killer bees. Maybe conservation officers should carry little bee traps instead of being loaded for bear.

The Bear Society site is not just bear nerd fodder. It also offers a host of handy tips about bear-proofing your home. Clearly, if we all practised bear-proofing as recommended, encounters with bears would plummet. But who wants to pick all the fruit when it’s ripe, or take down their bird feeders during bear season, or go the extra mile on garbage? Better to just call in a bear complaint and let the conservation officers deal with it.

It’s not too late. They’re still wandering around looking for free food. Just make sure they don’t find it at your place. Remember, to paraphrase Smokey, only you can prevent bears from dying needlessly.

And with any luck, you won’t have to get my bear lecture this time next year.

Journalist and communications consultant Paul Sullivan has been a North Vancouver resident since the fall of the Berlin Wall and the rise of Madonna.

Posted 10/16/2017 Ref # 6280

Richard Juryn Nature Walk

The Richard Juryn Trail was once a thriving black bear habitat and a research area for biologist David Cook for 5 years. In early 2017, the vegetation on the trail was drastically reduced, removing an abundance of natural food for bears and with it, any signs of bear activity in the area. 
The North Shore Black Bear Society and members of the public were joined by BC Hydro staff Marty & Rene (also a biologist) who provided information on how they manage vegetation around the power lines. 

Posted 9/29/2017 Ref # 6278

Richard Juryn Walk

The trails near the power lines are popular with hikers on the North Shore, providing opportunities for nature walks and easy access to backcountry areas. They also function as wildlife corridors, and the native plants along the trails provide natural food for birds, bears and other wildlife.


BC Hydro regularly carries out vegetation management under power lines to keep the transmission system hazard free.


The walk will explore to see what nature has restored in an area where this vegetation management was completed earlier this year. BC Hydro will provide information about their vegetation management practices and how to hike safely on trails near power lines.


The North Shore Black Bear Society delivers a variety of education programs on bear awareness to people coming to North Shore to live, work and play.


David Cook, a retired biologist and long-time volunteer with the North Shore Black Bear Society, is conducting a multi-year study on the relationship between human wildlife conflict in the community and the availability of nature food by researching the growth of natural bear foods and bear scat on this trail. He will share his study and give tips on how to be bear aware while hiking.


At the end of the walk, a small gift will be given to each participant for attending this information session, courtesy of BC Hydro.


Meet near the gate at the beginning of the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve (at the top of Lillooet Road just past the North Vancouver cemetery) ready to start at 10:00. Carpooling is recommended as there is a small number of parking spots.


Please RSVP by email to or text to 604.317.4911 before October 2, 2017.


This educational walk along Richard Juryn trail is a joint effort of the North Shore Black Bear Society and BC Hydro to deliver information on how to hike safely in the wilderness and near power lines and to observe how quickly Mother Nature is able to restore an area after its vegetation has been altered. One can expect similar renewal and restoration in natural locations devastated by wildfires this year. 

Posted 8/3/2017 Ref # 6277

Bad Year for North Shore Bears

Posted 3/5/2017 Ref # 6271

Community Bear Forum

Posted 2/27/2017 Ref # 6269

Bear Necessities: Rescue, Rehabilitation, Sanctuary, and Advocacy

This amazing book is now available in paperback on! It contains contributions by so many dedicated people from many countries who continue to work on animal welfare issues with remarkable success; yet, some of their stories of challenge and loss are truly heart-wrenching. There is also a variety of topics in this anthology about challenges in the bear world (and beyond) that are less well known. Bear Necessities: Rescue, Rehabilitation, Sanctuary and Advocacy is educational, enlightening and inspirational. In this one special volume we have on-the-ground experience and knowledge from around the world. This anthology is a treasure for anyone who values and respects wildlife, and wants to know what is being done - and needs to be done - to improve the conditions of bears around the world.


The North Shore Black Bear Society is especially proud as it contains an article by one of our long-time volunteers, Mick Webb. It is called “Cleaning up a Community for Black Bears.”

Posted 2/18/2017 Ref # 6268

Bear alert in winter time

Even at this time of year we occasionally receive reports of bears searching for midnight snacks. We appreciate residents notifying the North Shore Black Bear Society [at 604.317.4911, 604.990.BEAR (2327) and press 2, or] so we can hang signs to notify people that their attractants have to be inaccessible in the winter months too. Thanks to all the responsible residents on the North Shore and to our committed volunteers who help to keep bears wild.

Posted 2/15/2017 Ref # 6267

Young Bear Protector in Action

People of all ages like to take care of North Shore bears! Here is a lucky 1.5 year old boy whose mother recently purchased one of our plush black bears, and he is busy keeping it safe. (Our plush bears are available for purchase for $25 by contacting us at or 604-317-4911.) As spring approaches, we all have to remember our responsibilities to help to keep the real bears wild and safe by keeping our household garbage and bird seed out of their reach.
Posted 1/10/2017 Ref # 6266

Winter Attractant Management

(Photo Credit: Warren Goodman)

The most recent bear sighting that the North Shore Black Bear Society is aware of was on December 27, 2016. It has been quiet since.  Hopefully, the cold weather has driven all the black bears on North Shore to hibernation.
While the bears are denning, other wildlife might be also driven by the cold, not to sleep, but to be closer to our community than we expect. There were repeated sightings of coyotes in locations where there were no such activities in the past. The harsh weather may force the animals search for food that is accessible in residential areas.  Wildlife that becomes food conditioned can be regarded as a safety concern and killed. 
Winter time is not a time to be complacent with wildlife attractant management. Many wildlife are attracted by the same things: garbage, Green Can,bird food and unwashed recyclables that smell of food. 
Please continue to store the garbage and Green Can containers securely, wash the recyclables and remove bird feeders at night. Let us continue to work together to keep the wildlife wild and our community safe.