When wildlife meets humans (Fifth in a series)

Grizzly bear at Grouse Mountain, B.C.

Many grizzly bears are killed every year in British Columbia due to their contact with human beings. Photo credits to Peter MacDonald (flickr: Peter Macdonald Photo).

Every year animals are relocated or die because of human and wildlife conflicts.

These conflicts can include anything from the wild animal becoming too accustomed to civilization and its benefits, to attacks and maulings.

Recently, at Kyoquot Sound, a remote area four hours from Campbell River and only accessible by water or air, a group of stray dogs attacked an 11-year-old girl, resulting in serious bite wounds.

Two of the dogs from the pack were located and then taken by police due to the deemed public risk caused by the strays. They were transported to a nearby island reef where the dogs were found freezing and starving, dying a slow death.

The rescuer of these two dogs was Maggie Tyerman-Norbjerg, a Campbell River resident who owns a company called K-9 Designs and who is known for her animal rescues and care for furry four-legged beings in the area. She was called by someone who spotted the animals stuck in the reef, and she was able to rescue them.

Since the rescue, however, she has not noticed any signs indicating the dogs have a bad temperament and is now trying to adopt them out.

In answer to Tyerman-Norbjerg’s multiple complaints about the RCMP’s actions in the case, RCMP Corp. Darren Lagan said the action was taken to ensure public safety and that dogs were not being cared for within the community.

According to the Human Wildlife Conflicts Response Policy from the B.C. Ministry of Environment, “Incidents involving bears or cougars demonstrating aggressive, habituated, or threatening behaviour towards humans will receive our priority attention. Incidents involving wolves or coyotes demonstrating aggressive behaviour towards humans will receive our priority attention.” Usually, the offending animal will be put down to avoid further threat to humans. Domestic dogs are not considered a priority.

The dogs that Tyerman-Norbjerg found were aggressive in one instance, and were not put down immediately but were abandoned in a remote location.

Mammals across the province receive this kind of treatment.

Pitbull in Victoria, B.C.

Zeus the pitbull seems calm and relaxed on a Victoria, B.C. beach although stigmas list his breed as a vicious dog in many communities. Photo credits to Jim Bomack (flickr: jimbomack66).

Pitbull in Victoria, B.C.

Zeus the pitbull seems calm and relaxed on a Victoria, B.C. beach although stigmas list his breed as a vicious dog in many communities. Photo credits to Jim Bomack (flickr: jimbomack66).

Pitbulls are a controversial topic around the Lower Mainland due to their reputation as a vicious dog, with bylaws existing in some areas to force owners to muzzle their dogs or keep them locked up.

These bylaws may be easing slightly as the pressure over domestic animal attacks is being placed on the owners.

“Once you get down to the underlying issues, it all comes back to responsible ownership,” said New Westminster Animal Services co-ordinator Sukh Maghera in the Metro News on May 14.

Similarly, responsible actions outdoors would minimize the number of bears, cougars, wolves and coyotes that are killed every year.

However, in 2013, B.C. had a lower number of bears killed than normal.

Grass and berries were in abundance this year, according to Frank Ritcey, provincial co-ordinator for Wildsafe B.C., who was interviewed by the Vancouver Sun.

Due to this, bears are less likely to explore areas inhabited by humans and lower their risks of needing to be killed.

The number of bears killed so far is 325, and the number of reported sightings are at 13,023.

In 2012, 460 bears were killed, with a record high in 1998 of 1,619. The high of 1998 is so drastically different due to efforts by WildSafe B.C. In 1999, 20 conservation officers started a program to help raise awareness and remove garbage and other human traces that attract bears in over 100 communities.

It has obviously proved effective, with this year’s number being less than a fifth of 1998.

All people should be aware of their surroundings and the effects of their actions, as it is beneficial for the safety of themselves, other people and the animals.

Wildlife do not know any better than to get caught up in our food, garbage or neighbourhoods, and they suffer a severe penalty for being caught in the wrong place at the wrong time doing the wrong things.


Journalism student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Lover of social media, photography, and reading the news.

Be first to comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.