Early Monday morning a bear was reported accessing garbage and compost close to Ecole Isabella Dicken Elementary School (EIDES) and Fernie Secondary School (FSS).
The call, which described a solitary black bear, came through to the BC Conservation Officer Service at 7:45 a.m. Monday morning. Officer Jeff Piwek explained that the bear was spotted close to Bright Beginnings Preschool, in between EIDES and FSS.
Both RCMP and the CO Service responded, but the bear had left the area by the time they arrived.
Piwek performed an attractant audit of the area and noted several deficiencies. He explained that the bear had gotten into a commercial bin that had been left open with garbage inside. Piwek explained that he has dealt with the attractants with the School District, and said this is the first time they have received a call about this particular bear.
He urged the public to keep their attractants secured, especially in the next few weeks while bears prepare to settle down for hibernation. During this time, bears are desperate to consume more food than usual. If individuals are diligent with storing attractants properly, Piwek said bears should be hibernating within the next few weeks. If not, he said they can stay awake longer through winter, if food is available.
Piwek explained that any call with regards to a bear around a school is taken very seriously, especially in the morning when school is about to begin. In this case, the bear was roaming around in the dark before kids were starting to arrive, however they still responded as quickly as possible to the scene.