Recent cougar attack and cougars in Fernie. We live in wildlife country, read on to learn more about cougars.

A 4 year old was attacked by a cougar a few weeks ago and a cougar had to be destroyed in Fernie a few nights ago.  We have chosen to live in wildlife country and should be prepared to encounter wildlife anytime and understand wildlife behavior.

Cougars are wide ranging animals and may show up in urban settings from time to time. If they are passing through it is important they do not find food that may encourage them to stay.  Many urban incidents occur with young cougars that have not yet learned how to hunt effectively or older animals that can no longer hunt in the wilds.

  • Feed pets indoors and keep pets indoors, especially at night. Cats and small dogs that are left to free-range, hunt small birds and rodents and, in turn, become prey themselves.
  • Never feed deer or other possible prey species for cougars. While deer may be pleasant to watch, they can attract large predators such as cougars into residential neighborhoods. As well, urban deer present their own set of problems to you and your neighbors.
  • Cougars are most active during the period from dusk until dawn

If you encounter a Cougar

  • STAY CALM, DO NOT RUN, MAINTAIN EYE CONTACT
  • Pick up small children and small pets
  • Let the Cougar know you are human-NOT prey
  • Make yourself as large and as mean as possible
  • Use your voice in a loud and assertive manner
  • Back away slowly. Never turn your back on wildlife
  • If the Cougar attacks, fight back with everything that you’ve got, it is a predatory attack

Never Approach or Feed Wildlife

Report human/wildlife conflict to 1-877-952-7277 or #7277 on cell.

cougarmr

Thank you to Elk Valley Homesteading Volunteers who picked two truck loads of apples in Fernie.

Feed families and livestock, not bears.! The fruit picked by the volunteers was given to families and to farmers to feed livestock as opposed to ending up in the landfill or as an easy food source baiting bears into town.

Do you need help with your apples?  There are resources.  If you are unable to manage your fruit tree due to disability, illness, you are elderly and need assistance picking the fruit, contact:  Rachel Dortman 1-250-423-8665, Facebook: Elk Valley Homesteading.

Wildsight in Fernie has the Apple Capture tree sharing program and equipment available to lend: fruit picking and tree pruning equipment, apple presses, dehydrators, sauce makers, etc.   Call: 1-250-423-3322, elkvalley@wildsight.ca, http://www.wildsight.ca/branches/elkvalley/

Owning a fruit tree in bear country is a big responsibility! Fruit needs to be picked daily as it ripens and not allowed to accumulate on the ground is important. Pruning your fruit tree will result in a better and more manageable quality of fruit.  Other options are removing the fruiting tree and replacing it with a native non fruit bearing tree.

volunteer apple pick

 

Learn how to use bear spray. Wednesday August 29th, 6pm Fernie Bike Park Gazebo

Are you an avid hiker or mountain biker?  Do you have bear spray accessible and how confident are you if you need to use it?  WildSafeBC will be running a “how to safely use bear spray” session on Wednesday August 29th at 6pm at the Bike Park Gazebo behind the aquatic centre in Fernie, free of charge.  This is a great opportunity to come and get hands on practice with inert bear spray (bear spray without the pepper).

For more information contact fernie@wildsafebc.comBear spray Far staff

Someone dumped windfall crab-apples along 4th avenue A, just above the boat launch in Fernie

This happens every year where people feed bears and use easily accessible areas or popular back country recreational areas as a dumping ground. We encourage people not to feed bears or attract them to our neighborhoods and recreational areas. How about trying to find a farmer and sharing this bounty or taking unwanted fruit directly to the transfer station and disposing of it responsibly.

Owning a fruit tree in bear country is a big responsibility! Fruit needs to be picked daily as it ripens and not allowed to accumulate on the ground is important. Pruning your fruit tree will result in a better and more manageable quality of fruit.  Other options are removing the fruiting tree and replacing it with a native non fruit bearing tree.

Do you need help with your apples?  There are resources.  Contact Wildsight Fernie Branch Facebook: Fernie Apple Capture tree sharing. -Available to lend: fruit picking and tree pruning equipment, apple presses, dehydrators, sauce makers, etc.   Call: 1-250-423-3322, elkvalley@wildsight.ca, http://www.wildsight.ca/branches/elkvalley/

If you are unable to manage your fruit tree due to disability, illness, you are elderly and need assistance picking the fruit, contact:  Rachel Dortman 1-250-423-8665, Facebook: Elk Valley Homesteading.

aple dumping

 

Cougar sighting reported on Blue Matador trail last night

Tuesday August 21.  A large cougar was reported by mountain bikers on the Blue Matador Trail last nightcougarmrCougar Safety Tips:  Attacks by cougar are rare but can be fatal, especially if young children are involved. In all cases you must fight back as cougar attacks are always predatory and the cougar sees you as a meal. Use rocks, sticks or whatever you have at hand to protect yourself. If you see a cougar that is watching you, maintain eye contact with the cougar and speak to it in a loud firm voice. Reinforce the fact that you are a human and not an easy target. Back out of the area and seek assistance or shelter. Bear spray can be used as ytour ;ast best defence on cougars.

Call the Conservation Officer Service reporting line (1-877-952-7277) to report cougar sightings and incidents.

Bear sighting in the Annex Park by the off leash dog park

August 15, 1 pm.  A black bear was seen in the bushes feeding on saskatoon berries just West of the off leash dog park in the Annex.

     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

Let’s work togehter to keep wildlife wild and communites safe by keeping garbage indoors inaccessible to bears, cleaning up fruit trees and securing all bear attractants. Remove the attractants so bears move on back to feed on natural food in the wilderness. blackiie 1

 

 

 

Daily reports of a grizzly bear feeding on apples on properties in Rosen Lake

There have been daily reports of a grizzly bear feeding on apples while passing through properties in Rosen Lake. “I don’t mind bears in my yard eating apples, what’s the big deal?”  This is a reply that I often get when I visit people with trees loaded with apples and rotting windfall fruit all over the ground!  Bears will pass through our yards; we chose to live in bear country!  It is important however, that the bear is not rewarded for being there.

When a bear gets food (garbage and apples) in your yard, it doesn’t know that your tolerance for bears is higher than your neighbours.  It learns that a house, lawn, bicycle and the faint smell of people comes with an easy meal.  It eats, learns and moves on.  Eventually it will find itself somewhere it is not welcome.  And when bears and humans are in conflict, the bear dies nearly every time.

Thanks for cleaning up the fuit trees, locking up the garbage, bringing

bear eating apples

apple trees will attract bears to your yard

in the birdfeeder and bears will move on.

 

Hot weather likely to dry up the berry crop and push bears into town

Hot weather will start to dry up the berry crop any day now and reduce the availability of natural food for wildlife.  Bears have a sense of smell far greater than dogs and it is this sense of smell that helps them locate food at great distances.  Once the berries dry up, bears will be drawn into communities to look for easy food like garbage, fruit trees and even birdfeeders.  Bears account for over 20 000 calls to the Conservation Officer reporting line every year.  Garbage is the number one attractant cited when reporting a call.

bear family from fernieWildlife sightings

Fernie

Moose, black bears and grizzly bears reported throughout the trail network.  Be prepared and expect to encounter wildlife anytime.  No reported sightings in town, let’s try to keep it that way by locking up garbage, cleaning up fruit trees and bringing in birdfeeders.

Sparwood

Black bears reported in the campground.

Elkford

Grizzly bear sightings reported at the bottom of Alpine Way and by SMS.  Cougar sighting reported just north of Karens Pet Inn.

South Country

Grizzly bear sightings reported by the springs at Rosen Lake and on Shelbourne road in Jaffray.

Thank you for keeping your property free of wildlife attractants and putting thought and end energy into preventing encounters with wildlife when out in the back country.

 

Mountain biker charged by a female moose defending her calves on Ridgemont trails in Fernie yesterday

“Had a very close encounter with momma moose who was with her twins on Broken Derailleur today. She came out of the forest onto the trail right behind me. We had been making lots of noise so surprised to see her. Once she saw me she dropped her head and charged for me. Avoided a serious incident by jumping over my bike and tree stump down the slope into the forest. Back tracked back to Ridgemont Rd and rode up the road to Eric’s trail entrance but who came wandering out of the forest again? Yes, momma moose and her calves. Turned around immediately, rode down Ridgemont Rd and called it quits for today”.

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 behaviours, 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.

moose and calves

 

 

 

 

 

Is your bird feeder a bear feeder?

“Why do I need to bring in my birdfeeder”? We ask everyone to bring bird feeders inside during bear season (April to November), when birds have plenty of wild food sources and feeders can easily attract bears right into your yard or on to your deck.  Why do bears go for bird feeders? One pound of birdseed contains approximately 1700 calories and the average bird feeder will hold up to six pounds of bird seed.
A hungry bear is biologically programmed to pack in as many calories as possible. It takes a bear many hours of foraging on natural foods to get the 12 000 plus calories it can down in five minutes at a bird feeder.

Keeping garbage indoors between collection days, cleaning your BBQ after each use, bringing in bird feeders and securing all other attractants will result in a cleaner and safer community for people and bears.

For more information on preventing human/wildlife conflict go to www.wildsafebc.com

birdfeeders Scott McPherson