Meet Amber Gregg, the WildSafeBC Community Coordinator for the Cariboo Regional District. Her office in based in Williams Lake, but she will be working throughout the Cariboo Regional District (CRD)
WildSafeBC is the provincial leader in preventing conflict with wildlife through collaboration, education and community solutions. It evolved out of a successful Bear Aware program. While addressing human interactions with bears was their original focus, they realized that people had experiences with and questions about the other wildlife native to British Columbia and expanded their mandate to better server the public.
In May of 2019 the Cariboo Regional District took the pro-active approach to hire Gregg as the WildSafeBC Coordinator for the District. This is in response to an increase in negative experiences with wildlife during the Fall of 2018. In an effort to increase community security, the safety of waste management staff and to improve the way in which community members live alongside wildlife.
108 Mile Ranch is one residential area being focused on. Because of the nature of the community’s physical layout and the inclusion of large green spaces, the probability of resident’s coming into contact with wildlife is increased. CRD Director, Al Richmond, has been very active in exploring ways to improve community interactions with wildlife and supported the concept of finding ways to educate residents about best practices in living and working alongside the District’s range of wildlife.
As a part of the program, Gregg has been visiting various neighbourhoods in 108 Mile Ranch and 100 Mile House this summer to do regular garbage tagging. If garbage cans are set out too early, the can gets tagged with a bright sticker, because garbage is the #1 attractant for bears. Residents are advised to only set out cans on the morning of their designated garbage pick-up. This reduces the amount of time the cans and their contents are out and attracting bears.
WildSafeBC recommends removing attractants (things animals like to eat) from your yard:
- Do not store garbage outdoors;
- Pick up fallen fruit;
- Remove bird feeders or at least keep the area under the feeder clean and reduce the amount of seed you put out at a time (no more than a cup at a time);
- Do not feed pets outdoors;
- Keep your barbecue clean;
- Manage your compost correctly:
- No meat, dairy, or bones;
- Use equal parts of brown and green material;
- Do not overload the compost with fruit – if need be, store material indoors (or freeze) and add gradually.
Here is a list, from the WildSafeBC website (https://wildsafebc.com/) on additional actions community members can take to achieve a WildSafe yard:
- “Landscaping to remove cover and food for wildlife
- Trim trees and shrubs so as to remove branches that could provide ground cover
- Design your yard with clear sight lines (don’t have trees or shrubs that create blind-spots that allow wildlife to hide)
- Consider plants that are less attractive as a food source for wildlife
- Remove or limb trees that are adjacent to your home so as to prevent access points for arboreal animals such as raccoons, rats or squirrels
- Fencing your perimeter
- solid fencing (such as wood panel fences) help deter deer as they usually will not jump a fence unless they can see where they will land
- continuous concrete foundations will deter animals that might otherwise dig under the fence
- Using electric fencing to protect backyard chickens, bees, or fruit trees
- Highly attractive assets like chickens, bees or fruit trees can be protected through the use of easily installed electric fencing.
- Storing firewood, lumber or other materials in a way so as to reduce its attractiveness as a home or hiding place for smaller animals
- Create small stands at least 15 cm off the ground to store materials like lumber on. Smaller mammals will not be afforded a hiding place once the material is off of the ground.
- Blocking off access points for smaller animals that may be looking for nesting cavities
- Always ensure no animals are inside of the area you are about to close off
- Use metal sheeting or heavy gauge mesh wire of small enough dimension to exclude your target specie(s)
- If excluding wildlife from under decks or sheds be sure to bury the mesh or metal sheeting and to have it angle back outwards
- If excluding wildlife from attics be sure to provide sufficient overlap of the mesh that is in turn covered (with boards or metal sheeting) to prevent wildlife from gnawing underneath the cover.”
Gregg has also attended several local events such as the 100 Mile House Senior’s Resource Fair and the Williams Lake Stampede Street Party. At these events, she provides information on how to manage attractants for a variety of species, as well as how to prevent conflict while camping and recreating in wildlife areas.
By providing education to residents about attractant management through initiatives such as garbage tagging, WildSafeBC, in coordination with the Cariboo Regional District, hope to prevent human-wildlife conflict.
If you have any questions about our local wildlife and things you can do to create a WildSafe yard, or if you have an event at which you would like a WildSafeBC presentation, WildSafeBC and Amber Gregg’s contact information are below.
Wildlife BC Contact Information: