The 2017 WildSafeBC (WSBC) season was an active year for reported wildlife calls in Maple Ridge. In 2016, we had 355 bear calls from April 1 to October 15. This year during that same time frame we had 629 bear calls. Most importantly, the increase in calls did not translate into an increase in bears being destroyed which is a common misconception.
Together with Ridge Meadows Recycling, the City launched a Bear Aware campaign in our community which grew into WildSafeBC. WildSafeBC is a program designed to reduce human-wildlife conflict through education, innovation and cooperation. It has evolved out of the highly successful Bear Aware program and is owned and delivered by the British Columbia Conservation Foundation.
Black Bears vs. Grizzly Bears
The most common human-bear interactions in Maple Ridge are with black bears. Due to the abundance of food available to black bears, the population has exploded. The grizzly bear population has shrunk in our area due to high human occupation, but grizzlies have been sighted as close as the upper Pitt River Valley.
It can be difficult to tell the difference between black bears and grizzly bears because both of their colouring can vary from blonde to black. With black bears, their colouring can also include white and blue.