Danger, Snare in Area sign at the four corners in Ridgemont

A sign stating: Danger, Snare in Area was put up by someone at the four corners in Ridgemont sometime last week.  This is an official Conservation Officer Service sign but was not put up by them.  Thanks to anyone who is up there the next few days and is able to get to take the sign down and bring it back to the CO Service.

We put a lot of effort and time into educating the community.  Signage is one of the effective tools, it’s a shame that someone chose to be so disrespectful and ignorant. snare in area

 

Bears, Kids, Halloween and Pumpkins!

bears and pumpkinsA few bear sightings have been reported in Elk Valley and South Country communities. Bears are making their last attempt to fatten up before finding a den for the winter. Pumpkins are a bear attractant. If you don’t want a bear on your doorstep then consider bringing the pumpkins in at night or even better, keep pumpkins in the house displayed in the window.

When you send your kids out trick or treating remind them to: travel in groups, make noise and stay in well-lit areas on the main street.

If they see a bear, remind them to:

  • STAY CALM
  • DO NOT RUN
  • Let the bear know you are human (arms out to side and talk to the bear in a calm voice).
  • Back away slowly and allow the bear an escape route
  • Never turn your back on wildlife
  • Do not approach or feed wildlife
  • Go to the nearest home and tell an adult there is a bear in the area.

 

Most Elk Valley and South Country children from kindergarten to grade 6 have attended a WildSafeBC presentation at school and have been taught how to respond to bear encounters.

After Halloween please dispose of pumpkins responsibly ASAP. Household garbage kept in a garage or shed or take the pumpkins to the transfer station.

 

 

 

 

Relocated Bear from Alberta has been seen in Elkford.

bear sniffing garbage canA black bear with an orange ear tag from Alberta has been seen in Elkford. Relocation seldom works with bears. Individuals often return to their original home or become “problem” animals in other communities and even provinces in this case. In addition, translocated wildlife often fail to adapt to their new habitat and, as a result, may starve to death or be killed by the animals that already occupy the area.

Removing bears (relocation or destruction) is not the answer. The only proven effective way of preventing human-wildlife conflict is the responsible management of garbage, fruit, BBQ’s and other attractants. Thank you for bear-proofing your property, complying with bylaws and helping keep wildlife wild and your neighborhood safe.

Mountain biker was bluff charged by a grizzly bear on Swine flu trail in Fernie

A mountain biker was bluff charged by a grizzly bear just past the bench on the way back down on Swine Flu trail early Saturday morning.  This is normal defensive behaviour when a bear is surprised at close range.  Remember to make noise to warn wildlife of your presence, especially around blind corners and areas where the line of sight is poor.

There have also been many reports of people dumping carcasses and animal remains by multi use trails. Animal remains can be taken to the RDEK transfer stations free of charge. They must be split up and bagged and taken to household garbage. Large carcasses and hides must be taken to Sparwood and there is a $25 tipping fee.bcWildSafe_180x120

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).