Bear sightings have been reported in a backyard on Park Crescent, in James White Park and on the trail by the wetlands area in West Fernie. So far this year the number of calls to the Conservation Officer Service has been low in residential areas, 45 reports for black bears in 2018, versus 157 in 2015. To date this year one injured black bear was destroyed for humane reasons at Fernie Alpine Resort and one habituated cougar was destroyed in the City of Fernie. This reduction in human/wildlife conflict can be attributed to a good berry crop, increased awareness regarding the management of wildlife attractants, a high bear mortality rate in 2015 and less garbage accessible to wildlife with the new automated wildlife resistant carts and bear resistant community dumpsters.
However, there was an increase in incidents between people and wildlife in recreational areas as trail and backcountry use continues to increase. A child was attacked by a cougar in Morissey and there were many reports of mountain bikers getting bluff charged by grizzly bears on trails. More people and highway traffic, a noticeable increase in trail use, more visitors, unsecured garbage, unmanaged fruit trees and new developments all contribute to human/wildlife conflict.
Thanks for being a good neighbour by keeping your garbage carts indoors until day of collection, picking all fruit as soon as possible, assisting neighbours who may be unable to pick their fruit trees and securing anything else that might attract wildlife. Consider removing fruit trees that you don’t plan to harvest and replace them with native non-fruit bearing trees. The end result will be a safer and cleaner community for people and wildlife.