Submitted by Kathy MurrayWildSafeBC Community Coordinator
A grizzly bear and two cubs were reported initially getting into chicken coops on rural properties. They have now made their way into Fernie, reported in the field behind Home Hardware and at the north end of Hand Avenue and Colclough in West Fernie and Aspen Crescent. Black bear sightings, bears accessing garbage, bears climbing onto porches looking into windows, bears swatting dogs, 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? 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. Bears getting garbage in your yard will often drag it to another property. Your negligence is jeopardizing other people’s safety. 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 transfer station, it is free!
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,
Bear accessing garbage and causing property damage in Sparwood Heights, Mountainview and Spardell Mobile Home Parks.
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.