Should the oil industry & community of Fort McMurray be concerned about bears after the fire?
Bears breaking into homes seems far-fetched but, as if Fort McMurray residents didn’t have enough problems already, conditions appear right for a creeping black bear invasion into evacuated neighbourhoods.
You only have to look back at the wildfires of 2011 in Slave Lake to recall bear conflicts increased and more bears lost their lives for getting into conflict with people. When wildfires occur, many wildlife lose their lives. Those left behind have lost major food sources and shelter. They are left starving and in search of food and a place to call home. This increases the risk of human-bear conflicts for industry and the community of Fort McMurray, as bears will have no choice but to wander into human use areas in search of food. They will take greater risks to get it and we must be prepared to avoid these conflicts with better wildlife attractant management.
For our clients, we ask you to be even more diligent in managing your bear attractants and to consider bear resistant bin systems for camps and sites. For the community of Fort McMurray, as you rebuild, this could be your opportunity to finally create a BearSmart community. 145 black bears were shot in Fort McMurray in 2011 for getting into unmanaged attractants, do we really want to see this happen in 2016?
Current Issues Industry Articles
May 17, 2016