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Tip of the Month


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Heather Ashthorn

Tip of the Month


Heather Ashthorn

Bird feeder season returns

Yep, that's right, get out your feeders!

December is a great time to dust off those feeders that you stored out of reach of bears all summer and fall. You may have noticed that your trees and shrubs are full of songbirds. They are congregating for the winter because there is safety and warmth in numbers. If you stay still and listen you may hear a chickadee calling out to other birds, announcing a food source. 

A couple of tips for good bird viewing in winter:

1. Place feeders away from windows so your feathered friends don't mistake that reflection for endless sky. Dead birds don't make for good viewing.

2. Many bird species love birch seeds. Plant this beautiful tree in your yard and you won't need to invest in feeders.

3. Providing different sizes and varieties of seed will attract a wide range of songbirds to your property. 

4. Be patient. It may take them a few days or weeks to find your feeders but they will come (as long as your neighbor doesn't have endless amounts of better seed).

5. Enjoy! This is wildlife viewing at its very best. Pull up a chair, grap a cup of tea ad watch the soap opera unfold at your feeders.

HAPPY BIRD WATCHING EVERYONE!

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Keeping encounters safe


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Peter Mather

Keeping encounters safe


Peter Mather

the benefits of prevention

Many of us enjoy seeing wildlife. We are delighted when a fox meanders through the backyard, a coyote crosses the road and the birds are at the feeder. We bring binoculars and cameras on our outings, hoping to spot a furry friend. Many tourism industries are designed around wildlife viewing. 

Most animals will get used to (habituated) to humans and human developments if they get close even once or twice without a negative outcome. That's why you see the fox, who is VERY good at not being seen, in the yard. Once the animal is habituated it may become quite bold. That's when you see the fox lying in your vegetable patch having a nap after raiding the vole population that was living underneath it. And the bear helping itself to your chickens, compost and garbage. This is a little too close for most peoples' comfort. Wildlife that gets a reward from your yard (or the dump etc etc.) has become food conditioned and is now a danger to humans. Bears, for example, may defend a resource aggressively when they find one.

Reacting to these situations is often time consuming and a drain on government funds which could be directed towards conservation and education. So preventing this situation is the key to coexisting peacefully with wildlife! Simple, yes? Here are some tips that help prevent negative encounters.

1. Attractant management is key. Garbage, compost, petroleum products, feed, livestock and food grown in our gardens are all wildlife attractants. Our own mess is the biggest contributor to human-wildlife conflict. Waste management is a shared responsibility. We can make sure attractants are not accessible on our own properties and we can encourage municipalities to create and maintain wildlife friendly waste management systems. Electric fencing is inexpensive, easy to install and saves replacing valuable feed and livestock and prevents destruction of wildlife. Scroll down to find a backyard checklist that will help you manage attractants on your property and information about electric fencing.

2. Keep your distance. Wildlife viewing can be interesting and fun. We are tempted to stop and take photos on the side of the road or even when we encounter an animal along the trail. Please keep your encounters brief and maintain as much distance as possible. Don't get out of your car to take that photo and when you encounter a bear on the trail, back away and tell the bear you are leaving; this is not a good time to take a photo.

3. Don't feed the wildlife! Leaving food out for foxes and other animals is a death sentence for them and asking for trouble for you. Conservation Officers may issue a Dangerous Wildlife Protection Order if they determine that you are not managing attractants on your property appropriately. Scroll down the page for more information about how to make your yard safe.

4. Travel through wilderness areas carefully and consciously. When you are exploring wilderness areas you are likely to encounter animals. Plan on it. Pack all food and cosmetics in bear proof canisters. Cook food far from your sleeping area and don't sleep in clothes you have cooked in. Carry bear spray and know how to use it. 

 

 

 

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Reporting encounters


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Reporting encounters


It is important to report wildlife sightings and encounters when they pose a risk to humans or to the wildlife sighted. 

Reporting sightings and encounters may help scientists understand wildlife populations and behavior. Conservation officers can respond quickly to negative encounters and are able to make other people in the area aware of what is happening and what to do to stay safe. 

Please report wildlife sightings and encounters to the TIPP line

1-800-661-0525

Please visit Environment Yukon HERE for more information about the TIPP line and when to report.

 

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Backyard Checklist


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Ruby Lieu-Ashthorn

Backyard Checklist


Ruby Lieu-Ashthorn

wild-proofing your backyard

Here is a short list of simple things you can do at home to make your yard a safe place for people and pets and to reduce conflict with wildlife at home and for your neighbours:

  • Store garbage securely indoors or in certified bear-proof containers. Put bins out the morning of pickup with lids tightly closed (same for compost); or take it to the dump before it becomes smelly.
  • Compost: Add only fruits and vegetables to your backyard compost, turn it regularly, and add firewood ash/dead leaves to keep odors down. Consider keeping your compost in an area protected by an electric fence or electric netting.
  • Freezers and Food Storage: Keep freezers and all food in your house or in a secure, locked shed.
  • Meat or Fish Dryers and Smokers: Use them in a secure locked shed, and clean the shed right after you’re done.
  • BBQ: Burn the grill clean after each use. Remove the grease can. Keep covered and preferably concealed.
  • Bird feeders: Feed birds only in winter — (this keeps bears away from feeders and cats away from birds).
  • Gas and Oil Products: Seems absurd, but bears are attracted to many petroleum based products! Store gas, diesel, waste oil, fertilizer, etc in well-sealed containers and in a secure locked shed.
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Waste Management


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Waste Management


why?

Managing human garbage and other wildlife attractants is the most effective way of reducing human-wildlife conflict. Everyone produces waste at home, at work, every time we purchase a product that is packaged and/or transported. Wastes include garbage, recycling, compost and hazardous materials and all may be attractive to wildlife. Reducing the amount of waste we produce and the number of negative encounters with wildlife both equals savings for tax payers, governments and businesses and helps keep wildlife wild, alive, and contributing their valuable ecosystem services.

In Whitehorse, our municipal government provides waste containers and curbside collection within the city limits and manages the municipal landfill. The Wildlife Act gives  Yukon Government the authority to enforce regulations which protect wildlife, including regulations concerning the appropriate storage and disposal of wildlife attractants. 

Please check back here over the coming weeks as we populate this page with resources to help individuals, decision makers and governments choose waste management options which are safe for wildlife and humans.


bear proof composting

Yep, that's right, BEAR PROOF COMPOSTING!

Bears love compost piles because they're full of food. Even if they don't stink, bears like 'em and will get into them, thinking nothing of tearing your carefully constructed composter apart and finding the goods. And if they get a reward the first time they do it, they'll be back!

Nobody likes a food-conditioned bear. They are dangerous and at risk for being needlessly destroyed.

There are two ways that we can think of to deal with this situation.

1. Put an electric fence around your compost pile. One large perimeter electric fence can contain your livestock, feed shed and compost pile all in one. Alternately, a smaller fence can be put up just for your compost pile.

2. BUILD THIS! This is a truly creative solution for those of you who love to make your own compost and don't love to work with electric fencing.

Good luck and happy composting!


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Electric Fencing


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Electric Fencing


WildWise Yukon promotes the use of electric fencing for small and large scale agricultural and industrial applications. Electric fencing is relatively inexpensive, easy to install and effective at preventing negative encounters with wildlife. Electric fencing may be used to keep livestock in and wildlife out and may be set up on a temporary or permanent basis. It just makes sense!