B.C. conservation officer Sgt. Todd Hunter wants to remind people to be bear aware this spring. (THE NEWS/files)

Conservation officer warns Maple Ridge residents to be bear aware this spring

Hobby farmers should be following the Ministry of Agriculture regulations

With the arrival of spring, bears are coming out of hibernation and B.C. conservation officers are warning residents to be cautious leaving food-related items outside their homes.

Sgt. Todd Hunter, with the Conservation Service, is also reminding hobby farmers that they should be following the Ministry of Agriculture regulations for food storage to protect livestock. 

Hunter recommends getting a species of dog that will keep predators away, as well as installing electrical fencing.

In 2017 conservation officers, investigated a bee producer who had not taken preventative measures to protect his hives from bears. There were several issues and the producer was put through the restorative justice program, in which he was required to purchase $35,000 worth of electrical fencing.

Hunter said that once the fencing was installed, the producer had no more issues and reported higher honey production in the first quarter.

“So they paid it off in the first quarter the next season,” said Hunter.

“Is that a success? To me it is.”

Hunter wants everyone to be familiar with the guidelines set out on the WildSafeBC website and he said that if there is a persistent issue with a property, conservation officers will enforce the rules.

A first offence under the Wildlife Act is a fine of up to $100,000 and/or up to six months in jail.

The fine goes up to $200,000 for a second offence and/or up to two years in jail.

“It’s for the protection of people’s safety and the wildlife,” said Hunter.


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