Fewer bears destroyed in the Elk Valley and South Country this year

On average since 2005, five bears per year had to be destroyed due human/wildlife conflict other than in 2015 when 22 bears were destroyed in Fernie alone.  So far in 2017, there have been no bears destroyed in Fernie.  Thank you to everyone who has made efforts to keep garbage and other attractants inaccessible to wildlife at home and prevent the needless destruction of bears and to those who have taken precautions to prevent human/wildlife conflict in our recreational areas.

A cold spring pushed bears into valley bottoms to look for emerging greenery.  We had several reports of grizzly bears and a few of black bears in communities between May and late September this year.  The Elk Valley and South Country is very rich grizzly bear habitat in close proximity to human developments.  Although tourism, trail use and development continue to increase, there has been a significant decrease in human caused bear mortality in 2017.

To date this year two grizzly bears were destroyed by residents in defence of property.  One grizzly bear in Elkford, three black bears in Rosen Lake, one black bear in Tie Lake and two cougars in Fernie had to be destroyed by the Conservation Officers due to human/wildlife conflict.  Overall the number of Problem Wildlife Occurrence Reports (PWOR’S) was low in residential areas and this can be attributed to a good berry crop and increased awareness regarding the management of wildlife attractants.  However, there was an increase in PWOR’s involving incidents between people and wildlife in recreational areas.  A mountain biker was bluff charged by a grizzly and cubs four times, a number of hikers reporting being bluff charged by grizzlies and cubs on popular trails, a hunter was attacked by a grizzly bear and several cougar sightings were reported on a popular trail and eventually had to be destroyed.

As the Elk Valley and South Country continue to grow and develop so does the importance of keeping garbage and other attractants inaccessible to wildlife, continuing educational efforts, promoting responsible trail use, enforcing bylaws and ensuring new developments remain safe for people and wildlife.   Thank you to our sponsors, partners, volunteers and all the residents and visitors who made an effort this season to remove wildlife attractants from their properties and to prevent human/wildlife conflict in recreational areas.

The WildSafeBC program will be going into hibernation until the spring.  Let’s keep working together to keep wildlife wild and communities safe.

Bears going into hibernation

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moose sightings in James White Park and on Red Sonya trail

A bull moose has been seen in James White Park the last few days and a smaller female moose was seen on Red Sonya trail just above the power line on the weekend.

Moose Safety Tips

  • Moose are wild animals and need to be given space and privacy. Never approach a moose. Give the animals a wide berth and ensure they always have an escape route.
  • Female moose with calves need extra space. Moose cows are very protective of their young and may attack if they perceive a threat. If you come across a cow and calf, calmly leave the area immediately.
  • Be aware of moose body language. A threatened moose may lower its head and flatten its ears before charging. If you see these behaviours, find an escape route.
  • If a moose does charge you, getting inside a nearby building or car is the safest option, but hiding behind a large tree or other solid object may effectively block the charge.
  • Dogs and moose don’t mix. A moose can seriously injure or kill a dog if it feels threatened. Likewise, loose dogs can harass moose, causing undue stress. Never let your dog out if there is a moose in your yard.
  • Use caution when walking dogs, keep them under voice control and/or leash.  Dogs chasing wildlife may result in human/wildlife conflict.
  • Drive cautiously, scanning for moose along roadsides, especially between dusk and dawn to avoid collisions.

moose deserve their space and privacy

Bear sightings reported on 4th avenue and in James White Park in Fernie today

Monday October 16th.  Bears have been reported on 4th avenue,  4th Avenue A, the Dike trail by Dogwood Park and in james White Park.

Fernie is Wildlife Country. Never Approach or Feed Wildlife

At home:  lock up garbage and manage fruit trees, BBQ’s and birdfeeders

On the trail:  Avoid surprise encounters, call out, clap or sing, don’t litter and carry bear spray.

Report Human/Wildlife Conflict 1-877-952-7277

Lock up garbage, clean up fruit trees, bears will move on.

92% of people using bear spray during a bear attack escape uninjured.

Going hiking, biking or hunting in bear country, have you got your bear spray?  Indeed, properly used bear spray is said to be the most effective bear deterrent available, and a study co-authored by University of Calgary Professor Stephen Herrero found that attack victims using bear spray are much less likely to be injured than those defending themselves with a gun.  The 2012 study, published in the Journal of Wildlife Management, showed a 92% of people using bear spray during an attack escaped injury, compared to only 50% of gun users.

We’ve had a number of incidents involving people and bears the last few months.  A hunter was attacked by a grizzly bear and cub just last week.  Earlier this summer a mountain biker was bluff charged four times by a grizzly bear and cubs on a popular Fernie trail and there were two other reported incidents of hikers and trail runners being bluff charged by grizzly bears that we know of.

Bears defend three things, their young, their food and their space.  Surprising a bear at close range is likely to provoke defensive behavior such as a bluff charge.  The safest wildlife encounter is one prevented.  Make noise to warn wildlife of your presence and have bear spray accessible and know how to use it.  This will give you the confidence to do the right thing and not give in to the instinct to run (which can invoke the chase instinct).  The right thing being,  remain calm,  stop and assess the situation and back away slowly in the event of an encounter with wildlife. Bear spray is not a substitute for using common sense but can be used as your last best defence if necessary.

Recent wildlife sightings

Fernie

Black bear sightings reported on MacDonald Avenue in West Fernie.  Grizzly bear sightings reported on River Road Extension.

Elkford

Coyotes reported on Casino Drive.

make noise when approaching blind corners

Thank you to the Fernie Brewing Company “Cheers to Charity”

The Fernie Brewing Company will be donating all profits of their flight of four beers to the Fernie WildSafeBC program between October 1st and December 15th.  Head down to the Fernie Brewing Company and sample their amazing craft beer and donate to a great cause.

 Thank you for your support and help keep wildlife wild and

communities’ safe.

Thank you to the Fernie Brewing Company

Black bear sighting early this morning on the corner of Mill and MacDonald in West Fernie

A black bear was seen at 7am this morning on the corner of Mill St and MacDonald Avenue.  The dike trail behind is a popular place to take dogs for a walk. Remember that dogs chasing wildlife may provoke defensive behavior.

If you don’t want bears on your property, keep the garbage indoors, clean up fruit trees and remove anything else that might attract bears.  The end result will be a cleaner and safer neighborhood for people and wildlife.

For more information on wildlife safety go to https://wildsafebc.com/black-bear/

Hunter attacked by grizzly bear just outside Fernie

Hunter attacked by grizzly bear just outside Fernie

A hunter was attacked by a female grizzly defending her cub this past weekend outside Fernie. Bears defend three things, their food, their young and their space.  It appears the hunter was at the wrong place at the wrong time.  When we choose to hunt, hike, bike or live in bear country we must be prepared to encounter bears anytime.

The safest wildlife encounter is one prevented. Your best defense is to be aware of wildlife in the area.

                                  

  • Make Noise to avoid a surprise encounter (use your  human voice, clap hands or two rocks together – especially near running water or in dense brush)
  • Carry a walking stick (adults can carry Bear Spray in a side holster)
  • Walk in groups
  • Keep dogs leashed and/or under voice control

 

     If you encounter a Bear:

 

  • STAY CALM
  • DO NOT RUN
  • Let the bear know you are human (arms out to side)
  • Use your voice in a calm, assertive manner.
  • Back away slowly and allow the bear an escape route
  • Never turn your back on wildlife
  • Do not approach or feed wildlife

There have been reports of animal remains being dumped in areas adjacent to recreational trails attracting grizzly bears and jeopardizing the safety of trail users. For your own safety and that of other backcountry users please take all animal remains to the transfer station.  They must be split up, bagged and disposed of in household garbage.  Thank you.

Thanks for keeping pur grizzly bears wild

 

 

Bear reported chasing a biker and dog and bears accessing garbage in Sparwood Heights

A biker and dog were chased by a bear last night on Hickory Crescent and bears have been reported accessing garbage on Pinyon Crescent in Spawood Heights.

Sparwood is wildlife country.   Keep wildlife wild and people safe

At home:  Lock up garbage until collection day, clean up fruit trees, BBQ’s and bring in bird feeders.

 We live in wildlife habitat. Be aware of your surroundings and respectful of the environment.  If you observed dangerous wildlife

  • accessing garbage or other human supplied food sources
  • that cannot be scared off
  • a bear, cougar or wolf seen in an urban area

Call the Conservation Officer Service Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) 24 hr hotline on 1-877-952-7277. This allows officers to identify current hot spot locations and work with both residents and wildlife to encourage use of natural habitats and food sources before wildlife becomes habituated and/or a safety concern.

For more information on keeping communities’ safe and wildlife wild please visit www.wildsafebc.com, or follow us on Facebook WildSafeBC Elk Valley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bear sightings on Parkland Terrace and RDEK to incorporate “Bear Smart” guidelines for new developments

Bear sightings have been reported on Parkland Terrace in Fernie and throughout the recreational trail network in Fernie.  Guidelines to mitigate human/wildlife conflict will be incorporated into future planning for new developments throughout the RDEK.  On August 30th WildSafeBC presented to the RDEK Board in Cranbrook.  I am pleased to report that strategies to reduce the availability of garbage and other attractants such as fruit trees, livestock and bird feeders, in order to mitigate human/wildlife conflict, will be considered as part of the solid waste management plan review and future planning processes throughout the RDEK.

As development, tourism and trail use continue to increase in the RDEK so does the potential for human/wildlife conflict and highlights the importance of:  keeping garbage inaccessible to wildlife, continuing educational efforts, promoting responsible trail use and enforcing bylaws.  WildSafeBC Coordinators look forward to the opportunity to work with new developments throughout the RDEK and continue working towards keeping people safe and wildlife wild.