Recent Bear Sightings in Elkford

A black bear sow and three cubs have been have been attracted by garbage on Casino Crescent.

A black bear sow and three cubs (two white cubs and one black cub) have been getting into garbage on Cariboo Drive.

Two black bear cubs have been getting into garbage on Cariboo Drive.

 

Keep Garbage Indoors 

Bears eating garbage in residential areas poses a threat to public safety and usually results in the bears being killed. A family of bears continues to access garbage kept outside in Elkford. Bear Aware and the District of Elkford are urging residents to make every effort possible to bring the District residential garbage bins indoors (put them in a garage or a shed so bears cant get to them). If this is not an option please consider keeping garbage inside your house (you can put the smelly stuff in the freezer) or take excess garbage to the transfer station between collection days.

The Tragic Story of a White Bear Cub in Manitoba

In 2004, a white bear cub named Maskwa was born in Manitoba, and people flocked to see, feed, and photograph the little white bear and her mother. Unfortunately, the mother bear was killed by a car, and Maskwa ended up in a zoo. This tragic story is a reminder to keep our bears wild by storing garbage and all other attractants indoors to prevent bears from becoming habituated and human food conditioned. Let’s work together as a community to ensure that the white cubs in Elkford stay wild and do not meet a tragic fate.

Read the full story of Maskwa here.

More photos of Elkford’s white bear cubs

Thanks to Elkford resident Kristy Anonson for allowing us to use these photos of two white bear cubs and their darker-coloured sibling and mom in and around her yard.

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. 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. 

View photos of white bear cubs (Spirit Bears) from Elkford. Help keep them wild and alive

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!

Meet Bear Aware at the Paws for a Cause walk in Fernie on Sunday!

Bear Aware will be at the Elk Valley Paws for a Cause walk tomorrow (Sunday, Sept 18) – come along to chat to us about your bear experiences and find out more about how to live without conflict in bear country. 

All the money from the local Paws for a Cause event goes to the Cranbrook SPCA shelter, which takes in hundreds of animals from the Elk Valley each year and also helps a lot of Elk Valley families find a faithful pet.

More information about this great event is below!

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You and your dog are invited to take part in the Elk Valley SPCA Paws for a Cause walk on Sunday, September 18, 11am-3pm outside Fernie Aquatic Centre.

All funds go to the East Kootenay SPCA Shelter in Cranbrook.

This year there are two on-leash walk routes – a short 1.5km route through downtown, and a longer 4km walk/run route on Coal Creek trail.

Walk registration starts at 11am – $10 suggested donation per adult, kids and dogs walk for free.

Post-walk activities
* Local dog trainer Denise McKay and the South Alberta Working Herding Dogs Association will give agility and scent herding demonstrations

* See a demonstration by the Canadian Avalanche Rescue Dogs Association

* Pet first aid talk by Dr David Marion of Country Vet Fernie.

* The last outdoor market of the summer! Local businesses and artisans will be selling goods.

* Silent auction with prizes donated by local businesses including a day of cat-skiing at Fernie Wilderness
Adventures!

* You and your dog can win prizes with games of musical sit and a pet parade including waggiest tail award, good dog award and fluffiest dog award.

Register from 11am on Sunday or contact 778-519-0017 for more information.

 

Hikers account of their encounter with a grizzly bear on Heiko’s Trail in Fernie

We were hiking down Heiko’s Trail along some huckleberry patches just behind Mount Fernie, when all of a sudden the leader in our group started yelling something random. As the rest of us approached him, he told us that a grizzly bear had just bluff charged him with her cub. Before we knew, the grizzly came crashing out of the woods to charge again. We started yelling and blowing air horns and it ran back into the woods. We warned the 4 hikers behind us and their dogs about the bear and after contemplating on what to do, we backed off into a large field and calmed ourselves down. After waiting in the field for a while, 10 minutes or so, we heard branches snapping as the bear charged out into the field towards us for the third time. When it found out there was 15 of us, it quickly turned around, stopped to take a second look, and took off into the trees again. We then decided that the bear didn’t want us to pass on the trail and it was probably in our best interest to hike around. So we scrambled up the backside of Mount Fernie to traverse across the west side of that range, to Island Lake.

 

Grizzly bear bluff charges group of hikers on Heiko’s Trail in Fernie

August 30.  A group of 13 hikers was bluff charged by a grizzly bear 3 times on Heiko’s Trail.  Fernie is Grizzly bear country.  Be prepared and expect to encounter bears.  Look for signs of recent bear activity droppings, diggings or overturned logs, make noise to warn bears of your presence to avoid surprising bears at close range, carry pepper spray and know how to use it.  For more information on bear safety visit www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/misc/bears/bearsaf.html and view the movie Staying Safe in Bear Country available at the Fernie Library and Fernie Information Centre.

 

Article showing incident involving people, bears and off leash dogs in Northern BC

There have been a number of recent incidents involving people, dogs and bears on our local trails.

Remember to keeps dogs on a leash as dogs can provoke defensive behavior in bears and potentially result in the bear chasing the dog back to the owner.

This article from Northern BC is an example of what can happen when off leash dogs chase bears back to their owners.

To read more click here

July 21st. A 3 year old male black bear that caused property damage and posed a threat to human safety had to be destroyed at Mount Fernie Provincial Park Campground

July 21st: A 3 year old male black bear that caused property damage and posed a threat to human safety had to be destroyed at Mount Fernie Provincial Park Campground.

This is the first bear destroyed in Fernie so far this year. Unfortunately this bear was a regular visitor to the campsite, had gotten used to human food, caused property damage and posed a threat to human safety. Removing bears doesn’t solve the problem, it simply opens up a niche for other bears to move in. It is up to us to ensure we are not attracting bears to our campsites and homes by ensuring that all attractants (food, garbage, BBQs etc…) are secured.

When camping in bear country please remember to keep a clean campsite. All food must be secured, ideally kept in a cooler and locked inside a vehicle if possible. All garbage must be put into bear resisistant dumpsters provided. Do not keep food, toiletries or anything that smells in your tent, this could attract bears. Clean up immediately after cooking and never set up your tent on a wildlife travel path or near berry bushes. By keeping a clean campsite you will help prevent the needless destruction of bears.–