Grizzly bears in Elkford

Grizzly bears, like people will choose the path of least resistance.  Be prepared and expect to enounter 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

Call 1-877-952-7277 to report human/wildlife conflict

 

 

 

Grizzly bear sightings reported throughout Elkford

Two grizzly bears have been seen throughout the District of Elkford.  Please ensure that all garbage is kept indoors away from the grizzly bears and all other attractants are secured.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WildSafeBC had a great time at the Bit Bitty Bop Bitty Boo Festival

Thanks to all the kids who stopped by the WildSafeBC display at the kids festival at Rotary Park in Fernie yesterday.   I just love that 5 year olds know what to do if they see a bear and where garbage should be stored between collection days.

I am looking forward to my wildlife educational blitz with the Elk Valley and South Country schools coming up this fall.

Two cougars destroyed near Island Lake Lodge in Fernie

On August 12, 2017 the Fernie COS was forced to destroy two sibling immature cougars near the Island Lake Lodge. The approximately 2.5 year old cougars were destroyed due to the risk they posed to the general public. One healthy male and one underweight female cougar were destroyed by COs. The pair were sighted near the Island Lake Lodge area numerous times on separate occasion within a two week period. The cougars displayed abnormal behaviors by approaching the public and in one case a member of the public was forced to though rocks at one of the cougars in order to retreat to safety.

Cougar sighting in the Annex park last night, Grzzly bear on Fairy Creek trail this morning

A cougar sighting was reported by the off leash dog park in the Annex last night at about 9:30pm.  A grizzly bear was reported this morning at 11 am on the Fairy Creek trail about 300 meters from the visitor info center.  Two grizzly bears were reported feeding on a carcass on Fording River Road last night in Elkford.  A dozen by standers were taking photos and video contributing to the habituation of these bears.

We have chosen to live in wildlife habitat.  Please never approach wildlife and never feed wildlife.  Habituation and food conditioning leads to the needless destruction of bears.

For more information on wildlife go to https://wildsafebc.com/

Bears, cougars, moose, people and new developments! Be part of the solution; join me at the 10 am Committee of the Whole meeting at City Hall in Fernie this Monday August 14.

Fernie is a hot spot for recreation, that’s why a lot of us have moved here and the developments are approved.  We choose to live here so it’s up to us to work with this. I will be making recommendations to our Mayor and Council on how we can help wildlife and people stay safe at the Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday August 14th at 10 am.  I would greatly appreciate your support. Below is a summary of my recommendations in a nutshell.

New developments such as Montane, The Cedars and the newly approved Lizard Creek to name a few are located in prime wildlife habitat. These developments and are an ideal opportunity to set a precedent as Bear Smart Mountain Community Developments and ensure that the outside perimeter of Fernie remains a safe place for wildlife and people.

WildSafeBC recommends certified communal bear resistant dumpsters rather than curb side collection for developments and businesses on the outside perimeter in prime wildlife habitat.  Bear resistant communal dumpsters have proven successful in preventing human/wildlife conflicts in national parks such as Banff and Jasper and in communities such as Canmore and in Bear Smart BC communities of New Denver and Squamish.   For more information on the Bear Smart Community program go to www.env.gov.bc.ca/wld/bearsmart.

Great local examples where we have no recorded incidents of bears accessing garbage are:  Pinnacle Ridge and New Horizon where garbage is kept secured inside a building.  Timberline Condos have communal bear resistant dumpsters for the strata.    A great example of a “Bear Smart” campground is the Fernie RV Resort which has bear resistant dumpsters and food lockers.  Castle Mountain Villas had two bears destroyed who were accessing unsecured garbage within a couple of weeks a few years ago.   Since they have upgraded to bear resistant dumpsters there have been no bears reported accessing garbage.

I understand the concerns from developers regarding the esthetics of bear resistant containers.  Below is a great local example of a bear resistant container inside a secure building.  This can be done on a larger scale as an extra measure to ensure garbage is inaccessible to wildlife; a bear resistant dumpster inside a secure locked building or enclosure.

Additional “Bear Smart” guidelines should also be considered for new developments to prevent human wildlife conflict.

-livestock (chickens, pigs) must be protected from wildlife with electric fencing

-no planting of non-native fruit bearing trees (apple trees and mountain ash)

-bear resistant solid waste management system (bear resistant communal dumpsters)

-no bird feeders allowed during bear season, April to November…

As development, tourism and trail use continue to increase in Fernie and the surrounding Elk Valley so does the potential for human/wildlife conflict.  Earlier this year we had a grizzly bear and cubs bluff charge a mountain biker on a popular trail on a Sunday afternoon in Montane.  Since the August long weekend there has been a lot of cougar activity on Lazy Lizard trail, a trail runner bluff charged by a grizzly and cubs on the Tamarac Trail and moose sightings on Eric’s trip and by Mushroom head.  Is it responsible to add unsecured garbage and other attractants (fruit trees, livestock, bird seed…) accessible to wildlife to this mix?

A great local example of garbage inaccessible to wildlife at Pinnacle Ridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moose sightings reported on trails in the Mt Fernie Provincial Park

Moose sightings were reported by mountain bikers on Eric’s Trip and Phat Bastard trails yesterday.

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 behaviors, 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.

For more information on moose go to https://wildsafebc.com/moose/

 

moose deserve their space and privacy

 

 

Trail runner bluff charged by grizzly and cubs last night on the Tamarac Trail

Tuesday August 8.  A trail runner was bluff charged by a grizzly bear and cubs last night at about 8:30pm 200 meters from the summit of the Tamarac Trail.  The grizzly and cubs bluff charged him and ran in the other direction.  Normal defensive behavior for a grizzly bear defending her cubs, food and space.  Fortunately the lone trail runner who  was calling out about every 50 meters and had bear spray was well prepared and escaped without injury.

For more information on wildlife safety go to https://wildsafebc.com/species/

 

Be prepared to share the trails with bears, cougars, moose and other trail users.

Be prepared to share the trails with bears, cougars, moose and other trail users.

Cougars, bears and moose have all been reported on trails throughout the Elk Valley the last few weeks.  This past long weekend cougar sightings were reported at the top of Lazy Lizard trail and by the parking lot of the Old Growth trail head on the way up to Island Lake Lodge.  All trails were closed for a period of time while the Conservation Officers investigated the area for a possible kill site.  Nothing was found so trails were reopened.

Last week a moose cow charged at a biker on a trail by Maiden Lake. The moose had been hanging around in the wetland, a great place to be on a hot sunny day.   She ran out onto the trail to investigate when she was startled by the biker.  Bear sightings were also reported on Montane Blue trail and Grizzly bears reported at the Elk Valley Regional Park and by SMS just south of Elkford.

As trail use continues to increase so will the potential for human/wildlife conflict.  It is especially important for everyone to be prepared to encounter wildlife and share the trail with other users including:  hikers, bikers, trail runners, horses etc…  The best way to prevent collisions is to slow down and call out when approaching blind corners or areas where the line of sight is poor, yield to uphill traffic and wildlife and never leave home without bear spray.

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

Mountain bikers, your speed and quietness put you at greater risk for sudden encounters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lazy Lizard trail and Island Lake Lodge trails now open

There were 3 cougar sightings at Island Lake Lodge yesterday.  Island Lake Lodge had 2 Conservation Officers survey the property in and around the sightings and it was determined to be unlikely that an animal carcass is in the area.  It is more likely that the cougar were passing through the area.  Trails on Island Lake Lodge property are open at this time.

Be prepared and expect to encounter wildlife anytime.  Report human/wildlife conflict to the 24 hour Conservation Officer hotline on 1-877-952-7277

For more information on wildlife safety go t0https://wildsafebc.com/species/