This year, several white bears have been seen in Elkford. White bears are very rare, and it is important that we all take responsibility for keeping our properties free of bear attractants to keep these special bears wild. One bear family includes one white, one black, and one cinnamon-coloured cub, and another family has two white cubs and one black cub. These bears have already frequently been seen in residential areas throughout Elkford, and they have been getting into unsecured garbage. Please keep your garbage indoors to prevent these bears from becoming habituated and human food conditioned. If you do not have a garage or a shed to keep your garbage container in, please keep your garbage inside until the morning of pick-up day or take it to the transfer station. Smelly garbage can be frozen in a ziploc bag until pick-up day to prevent unpleasant smells. Please also pick all fruit and berries, clean your barbeques thoroughly after each use, remove bird feeders, manage your compost properly to keep it odour-free, and keep all other bear attractants indoors. Bears can even be attracted by dirty diapers and petroleum products. Keeping our properties clean is the best way to protect these white bears. Relocating bears has been found to be largely ineffective as bears often return to the same area. Even if relocated bears stay in their new habitat, their survival is very low because they are in an unfamiliar environment and may come into conflict with other bears. The permanent solution for keeping bears wild and our communities safe is to clean our towns of bear attractants. If bears do not find anything to eat in our communities, they will usually move on. Please do your part to keep our bears wild!
If you find any hair from these bear families with white cubs, please contact Elk Valley Bear Aware at 250-910-0959. Scientists do not know much about these white bears yet, but they could use hair samples for DNA analysis to find out more about what causes the white colour of these bears.
It is illegal to hunt white bears in BC.
The attached photos of white bear cubs were taken by Tracy Steinke, and she generously shared her beautiful photos with Bear Aware. Thank you very much, Tracy!