Bear dies during rat eradication program

  • Dec. 9, 2011 12:00 p.m.

By Jane Wilson–An unfortunate accident killed a bear during a Parks Canada rat eradication project on the Bischof Islands in September.The rat eradication was part of the Gwaii Haanas’ SGin Xaana Sdiihltl’lxa : Night Birds Returning project, which aims to protect seabird colonies by removing the invasive rat populations. Poisoned bait stations were placed on the islands, south of Lyell Island, from Aug. 1 to Oct. 1. The stations were checked daily, but “they are plastic containers never intended to keep out bears” said Project Manager Laurie Wein. “We’re very concerned about the non-target impacts, and the bait stations worked exceedingly well in that respect,” citing only four deaths of animals discovered poisoned by the stations on the Bischofs, all of them birds.The bear was discovered on the islands after the rat eradication had started. Ms Wein said Parks staff had never seen a bear on the islands, “there’s nothing in theoral history about bears on the islands, it was just a surprising thing that it was there.” Gwaii Haanas staff removed the bait, and placed meat laced with an antidote, after discovering the bear Sept. 23. They also tried to scare the bear off the island for several days with shouting and banging, which was not successful. “The top priority was getting that bear off the islands” said Ms Wein. Staff and a conservation officer eventually tried to relocate the juvenile bear for its own safety, but its head was caught in a snare designed to trap its foot, and it died on Sept. 28.”The capture of bears for the purposes of immobilization and relocation is inherently risky to the animal” said Ms Wein, “Gwaii Haanas, in consultation with the provincial conservation officer and its project partners, carefully assessed the risks of capture both to the bear and to the project success. The decision to proceed in this manner was taken with due consideration weighing the risks to the bear and the likelihood of a successful capture. This is an unexpected and unfortunate result of a standard method of bear capture for the purposes of immobilization and relocation.””Gwaii Haanas is very disappointed and saddened by the loss of the animal,” said Ms Wein. No other bears have been seen on the Bischofs since the incident.

Just Posted

New exhibit at Haida Gwaii Heritage Centre, Kay Llnagaay

Ubiquitous Cocoons: My metamorphosing life by Kathy Pick will be running until Sept. 1, 2019

Steve Nash Youth Basketball wraps up in Massett

RCMP coordinated the 12-week program for children between the ages of eight and 10

Smithers man receives two-year sentence for fatal car crash

Over a year after a fatal crash, a Smithers man has been sentenced to two years plus a day in jail.

Backyard burning still prohibited on Haida Gwaii, fire chief warns

Village of Queen Charlotte fire chief Larry Duke is reminding the public… Continue reading

COLUMN: The removal of the Pigeon Guillemot ‘colony’

Birds lost their place after the removal of the old wharf at Shingle Bay in Sandspit

10 facts about Father’s Day

Did you know that the special day for dads was first celebrated in 1910?

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

B.C. Interior First Nation family ‘heartbroken’ over loss of young mom

RCMP have released no new information since the June 8, 2019 homicide

Most Read