I went into City Hall via a different entrance this week and ended up walking by the “Live Smart With Urban Wildlife” bear display. I was very pleased to see that the display was up in the public space outside our Engineering and Public Works department with top-notch signage providing reminders about living safely and smartly amongst the wildlife in our beautiful city.
I was also happy to see on the signage, support for the display from the Kwikwetlem First Nation. After I learned that the carcass of this 600 pound male bear was given to the Katsie First Nation who extracted some components (fat etc.) for ceremonial purposes and returned the skin, I saw an opportunity for First Nation involvement. I thought the KFN would support the bear display and the messaging – honouring the bear, valuing wildlife, urging respect for wildlife – and I’m proud to have suggested the idea to staff. They reached out to the KFN and based on the signage, the concept was embraced.
It’s sad this bear became habituated to unsecured human garbage and ultimately lost its life as a result, but this display, along with the endorsement from the KFN, show the animal’s beauty and remind us that these creatures are valued, important parts of our community and that we all must do our part to live “bear smart” so they can live out their lives – away from our neighbourhoods.