No reported bear sightings since March. Let’s keep it that way!

April 24th.  elkford brown bearsThere have been no reported bear sightings in Elk Valley and South Country communities since an incident involving a Fernie resident and a small black bear at 4 am on Pine avenue in March. Bears have started to emerge from their dens and will move great distances in search of newly greening plant growth, carcasses melting out of the snow and other potential food sources.

Bears are frequently drawn into residential neighborhoods by the promise of garbage and other attractants. Spring is the best opportunity we have to prevent bears from learning bad habits by ensuring that our properties are free of attractants (unsecured garbage, dirty BBQ’s and bird feeders).   If bears get the upper hand early by feeding in our back yards, it will be hard to make them wild again.

The seasonal WildSafeBC program has come out of hibernation and is planning a variety of educational programs and activities including: wildlife safety presentations, how to use bear spray, displays at community events and weekly media updates in local papers and radio. For up to date wildlife sightings and safety tips follow us on Facebook, WildSafeBC Elk Valley, visit www.wildsafebc.com or contact the community coordinator on fernie@wildsafebc.com to book a presentation for your group or if you have any concerns about keeping wildlife wild and communities safe.

Remember that keeping garbage stored indoors until collection day and securing wildlife attractants is the best way to keep people safe, prevent property damage, and avoid the unnecessary killing of bears that come into conflict with people.

 

Agressive black bear reported on Pine Avenue in Fernie

Thursday March 24.  There has been a report of an encounter with a small black bear displaying aggressive behaviour by the bridge on the way to the airport subdivision at 4 am on Wednesday March 23.  The Conservation Officer Service is currently investigating this report.

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

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black bear cub seen in West Fernie

Sunday March 13th.  A small black bear cub was seen on the North side of  McLeod Avenue in West Fernie on Friday evening.

An early spring has prompted hungry bears to emerge from their dens. It is much easier to keep food away from a wild bear in the first place than it is to teach a bear to stay away from unnatural food that he has learned to enjoy.  Spring is the best opportunity we have to prevent bears from learning bad habits by ensuring that our properties are free of attractants (unsecured garbage, dirty BBQ’s and bird feeders).   If bears get the upper hand early by feeding in our back yards, it will be hard to make them wild again.

Thank you for taking time to remove anything that may attract bears to your property.  Encourage your neighbours to do the same.

For more information go to www.wildsafebc.combear in tree smaller

 

 

 

 

Remove the food, eliminate the conflict. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

Bear_Garbage_CanMy goal as a WildSafeBC Community Coordinator is to create awareness and ultimately prevent human-wildlife conflict throughout Elk Valley and South Country communities.  I Endeavor to do this using innovation, education and cooperation. The majority of human-wildlife conflict in BC is preventable. Remove the food, eliminate the conflict. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

All it takes is one residence with garbage outside, unmanaged fruit trees or other wildlife attractants to kick off the cycle of wildlife learning to rely on human food to survive which eventually can result in a threat to human safety. How do we create widespread, community-level change that is crucial to reducing human-wildlife conflict in the long term? We need everyone on board.

Whether I am at a community event, presenting to elementary schools (more than 1200 students from kindergarten to grade 6 this year), talking to homeowners, passers-by when I am putting up “Bear in Area” signs, writing weekly columns for local papers, talking to local radio stations, collaborating with district Council and staff, my end goal is to keep the conversation around human-wildlife conflict at the forefront of people’s minds.

When these conversations take on a life of their own, at home, in neighborhoods, local cafes, on social media and at City Hall, it inspires real behavioural change. Garbage is cleaned up, forgotten fruit trees get picked, bear resistant dumpsters or retrofitted dumpsters pop up, kids get involved and neighbors work together.

This was my 11th year delivering the program and it has been by far the most difficult.    A high bear population due to productive berry crops the last few years, an early spring, a hot dry summer and a berry crop failure caused a lack of natural food for bears and resulted in human-bear conflict and high bear mortality. Add to that, development, logging and an increase in trail and backcountry use. As the Elk Valley and South Country continue to grow and develop so will the need to continue educational efforts. There will always be new bears and new people.

 

The WildSafeBC program will be going into hibernation until the spring. Thank you to everyone who has helped create awareness, complied with bylaws, bear-proofed their property and helped others do the same. Together we can make a difference, one paw print, one garbage can at a time.

 

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Danger, Snare in Area sign at the four corners in Ridgemont

A sign stating: Danger, Snare in Area was put up by someone at the four corners in Ridgemont sometime last week.  This is an official Conservation Officer Service sign but was not put up by them.  Thanks to anyone who is up there the next few days and is able to get to take the sign down and bring it back to the CO Service.

We put a lot of effort and time into educating the community.  Signage is one of the effective tools, it’s a shame that someone chose to be so disrespectful and ignorant. snare in area

 

Bears, Kids, Halloween and Pumpkins!

bears and pumpkinsA few bear sightings have been reported in Elk Valley and South Country communities. Bears are making their last attempt to fatten up before finding a den for the winter. Pumpkins are a bear attractant. If you don’t want a bear on your doorstep then consider bringing the pumpkins in at night or even better, keep pumpkins in the house displayed in the window.

When you send your kids out trick or treating remind them to: travel in groups, make noise and stay in well-lit areas on the main street.

If they see a bear, remind them to:

  • STAY CALM
  • DO NOT RUN
  • Let the bear know you are human (arms out to side and talk to the bear in a calm voice).
  • Back away slowly and allow the bear an escape route
  • Never turn your back on wildlife
  • Do not approach or feed wildlife
  • Go to the nearest home and tell an adult there is a bear in the area.

 

Most Elk Valley and South Country children from kindergarten to grade 6 have attended a WildSafeBC presentation at school and have been taught how to respond to bear encounters.

After Halloween please dispose of pumpkins responsibly ASAP. Household garbage kept in a garage or shed or take the pumpkins to the transfer station.

 

 

 

 

Relocated Bear from Alberta has been seen in Elkford.

bear sniffing garbage canA black bear with an orange ear tag from Alberta has been seen in Elkford. Relocation seldom works with bears. Individuals often return to their original home or become “problem” animals in other communities and even provinces in this case. In addition, translocated wildlife often fail to adapt to their new habitat and, as a result, may starve to death or be killed by the animals that already occupy the area.

Removing bears (relocation or destruction) is not the answer. The only proven effective way of preventing human-wildlife conflict is the responsible management of garbage, fruit, BBQ’s and other attractants. Thank you for bear-proofing your property, complying with bylaws and helping keep wildlife wild and your neighborhood safe.

Mountain biker was bluff charged by a grizzly bear on Swine flu trail in Fernie

A mountain biker was bluff charged by a grizzly bear just past the bench on the way back down on Swine Flu trail early Saturday morning.  This is normal defensive behaviour when a bear is surprised at close range.  Remember to make noise to warn wildlife of your presence, especially around blind corners and areas where the line of sight is poor.

There have also been many reports of people dumping carcasses and animal remains by multi use trails. Animal remains can be taken to the RDEK transfer stations free of charge. They must be split up and bagged and taken to household garbage. Large carcasses and hides must be taken to Sparwood and there is a $25 tipping fee.bcWildSafe_180x120