Food attractants keep black bears from hibernating

A black bear was euthanized in Fernie on Christmas day.

Food attractants continue to keep black bears in Fernie town limits.

Food attractants continue to keep black bears in Fernie town limits.

Bears are normally nestled in their winter dens but Fernie has had two resident bears roaming the streets and backyards near Park Avenue and Ridgemont Drive for the last month during the night.

“It is abnormal for these bears to still be around town at this time of year,” said Conservation Officer Patricia Burley. “They should be hibernating like the other bears.”

As a result a black bear bore was removed from the Ridgemont area and euthanized on December 25, Christmas day.  The same evening a second bear had returned to peoples’ backyards looking for food.  A trap has been set to remove the second bear, since it is not leaving town at this time of year.  The bear is reported to be brown, small and skinny.

“This type of behaviour demonstrates wildlife’s dependence on human food,” said Burley. “These bears would rather be eating holiday treats than sleeping somewhere out of town like they are supposed to be.”

This is a good reminder for residents in the Elk Valley to contain their garbage, bird food and any other attractants inside their home, garage or storage shed year round.

A Fernie resident was charged under the Wildlife Act 33.1 (2) $230 (Attract dangerous wildlife to land or premises) on December 21 for leaving human food outside and available for the bears.

“The legislation is not seasonal,” said  Burley. “It is the same as contained garbage/attractants during the summer and fall months. This is a year round habit that Elk Valley residents need to follow.”

Members of the public are reminded to call the RAPP line 1-877-952-7272 for problem wildlife, hunting, fishing and pollution violations.