New guides provide advice on rural wildlife management

A new series of guides provides support for the agricultural sector

RDOS Program Coordinator Zoe Kirk

RDOS Program Coordinator Zoe Kirk

A new series of guides provides support for the agricultural sector as conflicts involving wildlife and those working on the land appear to be on the rise.

Margaret Holm, of the Okanagan Similkameen Conservation Alliance (OSCA), and Zoë Kirk, Regional District Okanagan Similkameen (RDOS), have completed a series of eight Living with Wildlife in B.C guides specifically targeting wildlife mitigation and management. Species covered include black bears, cougars, coyotes/wolves, ungulates, starlings, snakes, and rodents.

The Conflict Reduction Techniques Guide, the largest guide in the series, provides mitigation tools and examples with links to information and product resources.

“This project brings together information from a wide variety of sources and is available for anyone to download at no charge,” says OSCA’s Margaret Holm. “We will be promoting and distributing the guides as widely as possible through agricultural and safety organizations.”

This project delivers more than just printed and web-based materials.  Articles will be submitted to industry publications and the authors will be providing seminars to agricultural organizations in 2014. In the South Okanagan, those interested can request on-site visits to assess risks and remediation options, and new agricultural businesses can receive a visit to pre-plan for best practices from the outset. A wall poster synopsis of the seven wildlife species, risk factors and conflict reduction techniques is in production.

Farmers, orchardists, ranchers, wineries, apiaries, resource sector workers and hobby farmers have reported increased crop losses and property damage as a result of wildlife conflict. All sectors have expressed concern for operational and worker safety.

“The RDOS has shown leadership and commitment to reducing human-wildlife conflict, demonstrated through its partnership with the WildSafeBC program,” says Zoe Kirk, RDOS program coordinator. “Industry driven, these guides fill a much-needed niche and I look forward to using them.”

The Living with Wildlife in BC project received financial assistance or support from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the B.C. Ministry of Agriculture, and the Investment Agriculture Foundation of B.C. through the BC Agriculture Council, Ardcorp, The South Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Program and the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen Bear Smart program.

Download or review the guides at: www.osca.org Living with Wildlife pages, www.rdos.bc.ca/public-works/wildsafe-bc-bear-aware    www.bcwgc.or health and safety tab