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Wildfires impacting wildlife as well

With files from George Henderson,

Wildlife, like people, are being impacted by the wildfires burning in the Cariboo.

But Helen Schwantje, a wildlife veterinarian for the Province, says they have no way of knowing exactly how much.

“We don’t have people following animals around watching their behaviour etc. I think the impact on wildlife from wildfires probably varies with the type of fire, whether it’s slow moving or fast moving, the type of habitats that are burned and the type of animal that is out there. For example, small animals probably don’t have a chance of moving away quickly whereas larger animals like bears and moose probably have an opportunity to move into safer habitats.”

Schwantje says sadly some animals have definitely been lost.

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Shealso asks that people notify them of any injured or displaced animals from the fires.

Information can be found on the BC Wildlife website.

She says people should expect an increase in wildlife encounters in the fall because of the wildfires burning in the region.

“Experience in other years where we’ve had fires has certainly proven that animals such as bears, when there is no food in the back country because of fires or berry failures, they will move into suburban or urban or even rural areas to look for food. Animals like that are highly mobile and they are not stupid, they’ll move where the food is. I think it is worth expecting more conflict perhaps this fall from, for example, black bears.”

Schwantje says motorist can also expect more wildlife on the road.

She says there was an increase in collisions involving bears even before the fires however and she says motorists should always expect wildlife on the highways.

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