The Bear Aware Program will be going into hibernation this week.

Thank you to our volunteers, the following organizations for their ongoing support: the British Columbia Conservation Foundation, Columbia Basin Trust, the City of Fernie, R.D.E.K., the District of Elkford, Fernie Alpine Resort, Wildsight, the Free Press, the Elk Valley Herald and everyone who has made efforts to bear proof their properties in order to reduce human-bear conflict throughout the Elk Valley. Have a great winter and stay tuned for more updates next spring.

 Please continue to report bear sightings and incidents to the Ministry of Environment 24-hour hotline at 1-877-952-7277.  

 Hibernation is an important survival strategy for bears in regions such as British Columbia where their main foods – green vegetation, berries, salmon and insects – are not available in winter. However, most bears do not go into hibernation in warm climates where enough food is available year-round. With only about six months to build up fat reserves for hibernation, bears must eat a great deal of food. They are particularly attracted to foods that are abundant and high in protein and energy and that they can get with little effort. During a period called hyperphagia, bears prepare for hibernation by eating three times as much in the fall as they do in the summer. In the fall, bears need up to 20,000 calories per day (about 300 apples) to gain enough weight to get through the winter. In some areas, food-conditioned bears that are used to accessing human food, such as garbage, may not hibernate at all. Bears typically hibernate for three to five months on the South Coast and for longer periods (probably five to seven months) in the Interior and the North.