Cougar sighting reported on Mt Fernie Provincial Park trails

Wednesday October 21.  A cougar was seen by a trail runner last night at about 6 pm by the intersection of Old Goat and Happy Gilmar trails in Mt Fernie Provincial Park.  The runner was alerted by his dog barking, the cougar was up in a tree and growled.  The runner turned around with his dogs and left the area.

A cougar was reported attacking an off leash dog last week by the power line at the top of Stove Trail.

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.cougar by meg Toom

Kindergarten students at Isabella Dicken learning to respond to bear encounters

Thanks to all the Elk Valley and South Country elementary schools for the opportunity to teach students about the importance of bear -proofing their homes and knowing what to do if they see a bear.

Parents, all kids have been given a take home assignment and asked to help identify any bear attractants at home and teach the family what to do if you see a bear and thanks toides kindergarten the teachers for following up.

As a WildSafeBC Community Coordinator I am grateful for the opportunity to educate over 1000 kids this fall.  Kids, thanks for your help  educating the community.  Keep up the great work.

Victim of black bear attack inside her home in Kalispell dies

A woman found to be feeding black bears died from injuries caused by a black bear attacking her in her home a few days ago.  Yes, garbage on the porch, in the backyard,rotting apples on the ground and other food attracting bears to your property and neighborhood is dangerous!  Read on for details http://flatheadbeacon.com/2015/10/01/victim-of-kalispell-bear-attack-dies/

The Conservation Officers, bylaw officers and public educators are doing their best to educate, prevent and deal with human wildlife/conflict.  It is up to everyone who has chosen to live in bear country to bear proof their property and take some time to look around their own neighborhood and talk to people on their block about the consequences of feeding wildlife (by intent or neglect).

Feeding bears is dangerous and is a threat to public safety.

Dead goat and grizzly bear on Heikos trail, use caution.

Monday October 5. bcWildSafe_180x120

A group of goat hunters were charged by a grizzly bear on Heikos trail about 2 kms west of the caves, 750 metres off the trail on Satruday. The group had legally shot a goat and were packing up the meat when the grizzly bear charged at them. The grizzly was shot in self-defence. Please use caution if choosing to hike Heikos trail, dead goat and grizzly just off the trail.

Fernie

Bears reported in Ridgemont, throughout the Annex, Alpine trail, Annex park, Coal Creek boat launch, Cemetary bypass and Mad Cow trails.

Sparwood

Bears reported in Sparwood Heights, Buckthorne Place and Mountainview Mobile Home Park.

Elkford

Bears reported on Minto Crescent, Alpine Way, Balmer Crescent, Cassidy Crescent.

Be prepared and expect to encounter bears anytime, anyplace.

At home: Bear proof your property: lock up the garbage, clean up the fruit, feed pets indoors, keep pets indoors at night and get rid of anything that might attract bears to your property. Encourage and help your neighbours do the same. Report offenders to your local bylaw officer.

In town or on the trails: Travel in groups, stay on the trail and in well-lit areas and make noise to warn bears of your presence. If you encounter a bear, remain calm, identify yourself as human with a calm voice, back away slowly and leave the bear an escape route.

We live in wildlife habitat. Be aware of your surroundings and respectful of the environment.

Never approach or feed wildlife.

 

Speaking Bear. Understanding bear behaviour will enable you to respond appropriately during a bear encounter.

elkford brown bearsThe following article by the Crowsnest Conservation BearSmart program explains bear behaviour and body language.  Next time you encounter a bear, think about what message the bear is conveying and respond accordingly.

Speaking Bear

By Crowsnest Conservation BearSmart

 

Bears convey information to each other through body language, vocalizations and odour signals. During encounters with people, they will respond and signal their intentions just as they would to any other bear. A better understanding of how bears communicate will decrease your likelihood of a negative encounter or a misinterpreted interaction.

 

Body Language – Even among grizzly bears, who are typically more assertive in their responses to threats, bears have evolved a language of dominance and submission to “work things out” with little physical contact.

 

Submissive behaviour occurs when a bear walks away from an encounter, sits or lies down or, in the case of black bears, climbs a tree. This behaviour says the bear does not want to challenge for the carcass, the female, etc. Similarly, a bear who yawns, looks away, and remains motionless is indicating that he wants to be left alone. Dominance can be indicated by continued approach at a walk or run. A bear encountering a new or unknown situation may stand up on its hind legs to better assess their surroundings: this is normal, information gathering behaviour and not a sign of aggression.

 

A nervous or fearful bear will often indicate so by lunging forward, slapping the ground or a nearby object, and blowing loudly or snapping its teeth. Sometimes the blowing takes on a guttural quality that sounds almost like a growl but the behaviour should instead be interpreted as a warning from an uneasy bear to move away. Less commonly, the bear will bluff charge by running full-tilt at the threat but stopping just short of contact. Such bears are feeling very agitated and this can escalate to a potentially dangerous situation (especially with grizzly bears) if the threat is not removed (i.e., back away quickly but do not run).

 

Vocalizations – Bears typically do not vocalize often, though vocal communications are more frequent between mothers and cubs and are more common from black bears than from grizzly bears.

Grunts and tongue clicks are used in friendly interactions between bears like mom/cubs, mates, and playmates. Cubs also produce a pulsing motor-like hum when nursing.

 

Woofing (loud blowing of air through nose or mouth), huffing, and jaw popping or chomping generally indicate fear, nervousness, or apprehension on the part of the bear rather than an effort to threaten or a precursor to an attack. While the explosive sounds and associated behaviour (e.g., swatting the ground) may look threatening, the bear is telling you it feels uncomfortable, thereby giving you the opportunity to diffuse the situation by retreating. Threatened bears do not roar like in the movies!

 

The highest intensity vocalizations are expressed with an almost human-like voice and are used when in pain (bawling), in fear (moaning, cub distress squeal), in combat (bellowing), or when seriously threatened (deep-throated pulsing sound). A bear that is predatory and stalking does not make a sound but rather focuses intently in silence.

Scent-marking – This often occurs on trees when bears stand on their hind legs and rub their backs and shoulders to leave scent and hair. The behaviour broadcasts information on the identity, age, and sex of individual bears in the vicinity and the breeding condition of females. Male bears may also bite or claw at trees to communicate dominance during the breeding season. The same trees are used repeatedly over many years. So while the human nose can’t glean the same information as a local bear, the presence of such bear rub trees can tell us that we are travelling along a well-used bear travel path and thus must remain alert.

So can bears speak? Perhaps they don’t use a full language like we do, but they certainly do use body position, vocalizations, and scent to send messages. Next time you come across a bear, think about what message the bear is conveying, and respond accordingly in bear-ese (e.g., backing away means you don’t want confrontation, yelling loudly could be perceived as a threat if it frightens cubs).

 

 

off leash dog chases bear from the dike trail up a tree by the Annex duck pond

Wednesday 3pm.  Earlier this morning an off leash dog chased a very large black bear from the dike trail by the duck pond to a backyard on 11th avenue in the Annex .  The bear sought refuge at the top of the tree and eventually came back down at about 1 pm.

Dog owners, if travelling on the dike trail please keep your dogs under control, by voice and with a leash.  Dogs chasing bears may provoke defensive behaviour in bears and result in human/wildlife conflict.  Bear sightings also reported by the Coal Creek boat launch earlier today.

Be prepared and expect to encounter bears.  Travel in groups, make noise to avoid surprising them at close range and stay in well lit areas at night.  If you see a bear, stay calm,  identify yourself as human with your voice and back away slowly.  Never approach or feed bears. dike trial bear

Thank you Annex and West Fernie residents. Not a single garbage can out the night before collection!

Wednesday September 30.  WildSafeBC went out on a night time garbage audit last night in West Fernie and in the annex.  I am very pleased to report that not a single garbage can was found put out on the curb the night before garbage collection day.  Thank you, thank you!

Garbage out at night is one of the root causes of human/bear conflict.  We are making progress, the next step is to ensure that we all keep garbage secure (in a garage or shed or basement inaccessible to bears) between collection days.

Keep up the great work everyone.  Together we can ensure our bears stay wild and our community remains safe.  bear family from fernie

Open and overflowing commercial dumpsters are a bear attractant.

BBCub in Radium Bin[1]There have been a number of reports about business dumpsters being left open and overflowing with garbage, attracting bears to the area and jeopardizing public safety. Residents, please do not dump your waste in or beside dumpsters designated for businesses. Take it to the transfer station

WildSafeBC would like to remind all businesses to ensure that:

The area surrounding the dumpster is kept clean, odour free and maintained in such a manner as not to attract wildlife.

Dumpsters must be kept closed at all times and secured (with a lock or carabineer) at the end of each business day, (City of Fernie Waste Regulation Bylaw #1845).

We live in Bear Country, contact either Waste Management or South East Disposal to upgrade to a dumpster with a ‘bear lock bar” or a bear resistant dumpster. Thank you for your attention to this matter and complying with City of Fernie Waste Regulation Bylaw #1845. The end result will be a cleaner and safer community for wildlife and people.

 

 

Are you responsible for baiting this large black bear into the Annex in Fernie

Monday September 28. Black bear sightings, bears accessing garbage, bears climbing onto porches, causing property damage, looking into windows, bears swatting dogs and bears bluff charging people at night reported throughout the Elk Valley and South Country.

Are you comfortable with bears, even a grizzly and cubs in your backyard? Bears getting garbage in your yard will often drag it to another property. Your negligence is jeopardizing yours and other people’s safety. If you have garbage in the backyard, under the carport, on the deck, apple trees that haven’t been picked, pet food outside, chicken coops or anything , expect bears, even grizzly bears to turn up looking for easy food. Remove the attractants, bears will move on. If it is safe to do so, scare the bears off your property, a car alarm works well, air horn, bang pots and pans even a loud electric guitar has proven to deter bears.

Fernie

Black bear sightings, bears accessing garbage, bears climbing onto porches looking into windows, bears swatting dogs, bears bluff charging people at night reported throughout Fernie on 5th street, all along 4th avenue ,by the Courthouse and city Hall, 8th, 9th and 11th avenue in the Annex,

Sparwood

Bear accessing garbage and causing property damage in Sparwood Heights, Mountainview and Spardell Mobile Home Parks.

Elkford

Bears reported accessing garbage along Minto Crescent, Alpine Way, Balmer Crescent, Cassidy Crescent.

Be prepared and expect to encounter bears anytime, anyplace.

At home: Bear proof your property: lock up the garbage, clean up the fruit, feed pets indoors, keep pets indoors at night and get rid of anything that might attract bears to your property. Encourage and help your neighbours do the same.

In town or on the trails: If you encounter a bear, remain calm, identify yourself as human with a calm voice, back away slowly and leave the bear an escape route.

We live in wildlife habitat. Be aware of your surroundings and respectful of the environment. If you observed dangerous wildlife

  • accessing garbage or other human supplied food sources
  • that cannot be scared off
  • a bear, cougar or wolf seen in an urban area

Contact Bylaw Services and call the Conservation Officer Service Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) 24 hr hotline on 1-877-952-7277. This allows officers to identify current hot spot locations and work with both residents and wildlife to encourage use of natural habitats and food sources before wildlife becomes habituated and/or a safety concern.

For more information on keeping communities’ safe and wildlife wild please visit www.wildsafebc.com, or follow us on Facebook WildSafeBC Elk Valley.

aneex balck bear

Grizzly bear and two cubs make their way into Fernie.

hosmer grizzly bearsA grizzly bear and two cubs were reported on many rural properties along Dicken Road the last few weeks. They have now made their way into Fernie, reported in the field behind Home Hardware and now at the north end of Hand Avenue and Colclough in West Fernie.

Are you comfortable with a grizzly and cubs in your backyard? If you have garbage in the backyard, under the carport, on the deck, apple trees that haven’t been picked, pet food outside or anything else expect bears, even grizzly bears to turn up looking for easy food. Remove the attractants, bears will move on. If it is safe to do so, scare the bears off your property, a car alarm works well, air horn, bang pots and pans even a loud electric guitar has proven to deter bears.

Carelessly stored garbage and apple trees are the root causes of bear human conflict in the Elk Valley and south Country. What is the problem with bear’s eating apples?   Apples are a fine food source for bears. They are very similar to many natural foods that bears normally eat. The problem is that most apple trees are located in people’s yards.   Bears are natural scavengers, have great memories, a keen sense of smell and will remember an easy food source. Carelessly stored garbage, birdfeeders, dirty BBQ’s and fruit trees are open invitations to bears.

Apples are ripe and bears are passing through town in search for easy food sources. . Owning a fruit tree in bear country is a big responsibility. Pick fruit daily as it ripens or pick it before it ripens if you don’t intend on using it and don’t allow fruit to accumulate on the ground. Pruning your fruit trees will result in a better and more manageable quality of fruit. If you can’t manage your apple tree, consider cutting it down and replacing it with a non-fruit bearing tree. Consult your local arborist. Dispose of excess apples responsibly, take them to the compost bin at the transfer station, it is free!

Keeping garbage stored indoors until collection day and securing wildlife attractants is the best way to keep people safe, prevent property damage, and avoid the unnecessary killing of bears that come into conflict with people.