Fernie residents have been urged not to approach wildlife after a black bear was spotted near the boat launch at Dogwood Park on Tuesday.
WildSafeBC will erect signage in the area and has advised people to give the bear space.
“You don’t want to be approaching them and the problem with taking pictures is the more you expose bears to humans, that contributes to the bears becoming habituated and once they lose their fear of humans and they start getting into human food, it is never good news for the bear, so we’re just asking people to stay away and give them their space,” said WildSafeBC Elk Valley and Fernie Community Coordinator Kathy Murray.
Bears have also been sighted on properties and hiking trails near Fernie Alpine Resort, including a grizzly and her two cubs.
The trio was spotted passing through backyards on Highline Drive.
“That’s pretty typical for this time of year, it’s not unusual to see grizzly bears up there,” said Murray.
“Just a reminder to people up there is to bring your garbage in, bring in bird feeders, they attract bears, anything that might attract a bear, just bear-proof your property.
“What we want is for those bears to just pass through and that’s what they’re doing right now, they’re just wandering around trying to find food. We’re asking people not to approach them.”
Anyone who encounters a bear should remain calm.
“If a bear has seen you, stop, stand your ground and stay calm,” said Murray.
“Talk to the bear, let the bear know you’re human and not prey, and back away slowly, just give it space.
“Typically, bears will be defending their food, their space or their young, so if you kind of retreat, back away slowly and stay calm, that gives the bear the message that you’re not a threat.”
Report all wildlife encounters to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-925-7277.
For more tips on avoiding wildlife-human contact, visit Wildsafebc.com.