Living with Wildlife - Watch the Movie

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WildSmart is a program of the Biosphere Institute of the Bow Valley and relies entirely on donations and sponsors.
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Report any sightings of bears, cougars or wolves
403.591.7755 (Local)

For all public safety
emergencies call 9-1-1

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Living with Wildlife

WildSmart - Spring Preparation

The Living with Wildlife column is published monthly in the Rocky Mountain Outlook to create awareness of living with wildlife challenges. We also work with local newspapers, radio and television stations to promote wildlife safety issues through the media on a weekly basis.

With the arrival of spring increased opportunities for a wide range of outdoor activities become available, BBQ, hiking, biking , gardening, walking the dog; the limits are set by our interests and abilities. Most activities will have the potential of encountering wildlife. These encounters are exciting and rewarding. For many, they are the reason for moving to and living in the Bow Valley. Maintaining wildlife presence in the valley is a goal shared by the majority of residents and visitors. How to achieve this goal in the face of continued growth of the towns and increased use of the valley by residents and visitors are a challenge and responsibility we all must share.

The Bow Valley is a major corridor between Banff National Park and Kananaskis Country, which facilitates movement of wildlife that require large home ranges. The valley is also home to many species whose needs are provided in a much smaller home range. Wildlife has and will continue to move through and occupy the valley. Our towns and villages provide opportunities and barriers to these movements and sustainability, by default or design as we develop our trails, landscape our grounds, and open the forests. Safety and sustainability in terms of human/wildlife interactions cannot be left to default, they will only come about through cooperation and design.

WildSmart is a community program that is part of that design. What is WildSmart?

As a definition WildSmart is a proactive conservation strategy that encourages efforts by communities to reduce negative human-wildlife interactions. To be effective, WildSmart has to be more than a definition. WildSmart is an attitude, action, understanding and acceptance that we are competing with wildlife for the resources of the Bow Valley. WildSmart is learning how to avoid and/or react during an encounter, what to do to reduce the risk of encounters, and how to enjoy our activities with increased safety. We made the choice to live here; thus, we can make the choice to improve our safety and wildlife sustainability by being WildSmart.

WildSmart is a community working towards the common goal of increased safety. By creating and supporting WildSmart, the communities in the Bow Valley are on the cutting edge of human/wildlife conflict reduction. WildSmart is extremely fortunate in that the Bow Valley has committed and passionate people uniting, albeit into some non traditional allies, to work toward achieving that common goal. WildSmart is lively and facilitates respectful discussions between all partners. It is challenging, educational, creative, and fun. Above all, WildSmart is satisfying because it develops and implements programs tailored to the Bow Valley. WildSmart is not about the burden of someone else’s problem, it is about the opportunities to create and implement Bow Valley solutions.

Enjoy the beauty and opportunities offered in the valley, be aware, be safe, be WildSmart.

WildSmart is a proactive conservation strategy that encourages efforts by all to reduce negative human-wildlife interactions.

We thank our sponsors and the community for their support, we could not do this without you.

Residents are encouraged to report any sightings of bear, cougar or aggressive elk to 403-591-7755.
For all public safety emergencies call 9-1-1.

 

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