WildWise pushes City on bearproofing

WildWise makes the news again! Here is the latest Yukon News story, featuring WildWise at City Council meetings. February and March brought City Operations Committee to Council with two issues: the purchase of two new waste packers (garbage trucks) to replace the City's aging ones and a revised (replacement) Waste Management Bylaw in anticipation of the addition of commercial curbside compost collection. WildWise showed up to inform City Council that replacing the current trucks with similar ones undermines the City's ability to move to a bear proof waste management system and a bylaw revision is an opportunity to include provisions for reducing the availability of wildlife attractants on private and commercial properties throughout the City. WildWise asked Council to delay decisions in both cases until more information could be presented for consideration. Read more here: https://www.yukon-news.com/news/wildwise-pushes-city-of-whitehorse-on-bearproofing/

Please note: WildWise misquoted the number of bears destroyed in Whitehorse in 2017. Council asked for the number and we assumed they meant for the Yukon Territory. In 2017  there are 69 reports for the Whitehorse district, 13 are inside the City limit, 23 bears were killed, 6 within the City limit.  Of those 6, 2 were in areas adjacent to neighborhoods served by the City's curbside collection system. Since 2012 there have been an average of 20 negative human-bear encounters yearly and 18 bears destroyed in the City of Whitehorse. Whether a bear is destroyed depends largely on whether a bear is caught 'in the act' or in a trap and management decision making at the time of response. It is true that a fed bear is a dead bear. 70% of negative encounters in Whitehorse are due to the availability of garbage and compost. We can fix this if we all do our part to make this is a safer place for humans and bears!


Please join us for an evening of bear talk

The Bear Facts - 2017 in review

Tuesday November 28th, 5-8:30pm

Yukon Beringia Centre


5:00pm - Open house - tables hosted by WildWise Yukon, Environment Yukon, and Yukon Conservation Society.

6:00 - Film - Canmore bear smart documentary

6:30 - Presentation by Aimee Schmidt - "Lessons from Agency and Community Responses to a Polar Bear Attack in Churchill, Manitoba" See below for more about Aimee Schmidt's work. 

7:30 – Q & A and community discussion
Silent Auction throughout the event. Stay tuned for features auction items!
This is a free event but we are very gratefully accepting donations. 

WildWise Yukon and Environment Yukon Yukon Conservation Officer Services have both had a busy bear season. 2017 was a dangerous year to be a bear in the Yukon. Preventable human-bear conflict was responsible for the unnecessary destruction of over 60 bears throughout the territory. WildWise Yukon and Environment Yukon aim to reduce the number of negative outcomes stemming from human-bear conflict through education, outreach and research. Our agencies work together to identify strategies and approaches that may reach a broad audience. We strive to provide access to information to the public and to improve our programs according to public input and feedback. This event is an opportunity to examine human-bear conflict from various angles and to enable a community-wide discussion about what has happened in the past and what we want for the future of the human-bear system.
Aimee Schmidt is originally from Atlin, BC and now resides in Whitehorse. She has worked for 6 seasons as a grizzly bear viewing guide with Phil Timpany. Aimee recently completed her PhD at the University of Saskachatewan where she studied polar-bear conflicts.

Negative encounters between bears and humans, especially encounters that result in humans getting hurt, can have a significant effect on the way entire communities feel and think about living around bears.On November 1st, 2013 two people were mauled by a polar bear in Churchill, Manitoba. The mauling shocked the community and resulted in significant steps being taken to prevent future attacks. In this talk, Aimee discusses how community members and managers respond when someone is injured or killed by a polar bear and what can be learned from these incidents. This talk raises the question: do efforts to prevent bear attacks actually effectively reduce the risk of future bear attacks?


Bear Proof Bin Champions

We would like to thank Marianne Darragh and Elaine Carlyle for advocating for bear proof bins at last week's City Council meeting. We were unable to be there and very much appreciate the support of Whitehorse residents towards becoming a bear-smart community.

WildWise Yukon has endeavored in many ways to work with the City of Whitehorse to improve our waste management system. It is surprising to us to hear that City Council is unaware of the issues. The City of Whitehorse helped fund the Whitehorse Bear Hazard Assessment in 2016, which clearly calls for a bear proof system. Yes, experts have weighed in and advised. Yes, the recommendations are publicly available on this website. Yes, WildWise has made lots of noise about this over the past five years and we look forward to making more. 

Here is the Yukon News article about the meeting and Marianne and Elaine's excellent contribution:



Garbage bin locks for sale

Garbage bin locks for sale

We have a few bear-proof locks available for City of Whitehorse poly-cart bins. The cost of a set of locks (for garbage and compost) is $150, including installation. Please contact us if you wish to purchase a set and we will set up an installation date with you.

WildWise Clarifies!

The Whitehorse Bear Hazard Assessment was completed in 2016. We went far and wide to make it accessible to the public, including hosting a multi-stakeholder workshop to identify the relevance of the recommendations to those stakeholders and an open house following the workshop which we advertised everywhere possible so the public would have an opportunity to learn about the assessment and add their comments and ideas to our list of things to consider. We published the assessment in three places on our website and through social media, distributed it to all of the stakeholders and asked them to distribute through their networks. We talked about it on the radio and in the papers. We approached Mayor and Council, we presented to the Association of Yukon Communities and we use the assessment to inform the direction of every one of our projects since. Unfortunately, the report is one on a list of lengthy studies and documents that has been produced to help decision makers move forward and it is not a very exciting read for most people, so it is not likely being passed around by the public and left on coffee tables. 

WildWise tries not to complain and, instead, to continue to develop new approaches to working on human behavior change. For some people, education works. For others, policy and enforcement are more reliable tools. We try to divide our attention between the two. We also recognize that change takes time. While we are waiting, there are things that people can do, including putting their bins in the garage, purchasing locks if they don't have a garage or finding another way to secure them. Our comment about the futility of blaming the bins on the city intended to communicate that waiting for the City to do something about the bins when they were clearly not interested is futile if people want change now. The current poly cart system in use within city limits just isn't wildlife proof and safety can be improved if people take a few simple steps. Please visit the "co-existing with widlife" tab on our home page for more information.