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Off to bed: Elk Valley bear reports drop off

Local bears aren’t avoiding hibernation, it seems
Bear prints in the snow in Fernie in December 2021. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

After a rough summer, the bears of the Elk Valley have (mostly) gone to bed.

According to Conservation Office Ryan Gordon, there have only been sporadic reports of bear activity since the snow set in, with the most notable case being a bear hanging around the Fernie Alpine Resort over Christmas.

“The bear was accessing garbage from insecure residential and commercial bins as well as bird feeders,” said Gordon, who added that that bear appeared to have either moved on, or hunkered down for winter somewhere away from people.

“Our last call on that guy was around Dec 28th (2021). We were unable to locate on each response.”

Gordon said that Conservation Officers had passed a long a lot of information and education about attractants in the area to residents.

Gordon also said that there had been some bear activity around Ridgemont in early December, but that had quietened down as well, with no reports since.

Bears in the Elk Valley were being reported (and often destroyed) in record numbers over 2021, with 31 killed by Conservation Officers, often due to being garbage-habituated, and therefore a danger to the community.

Luckily, it appears that habituated bears in the area have not hung around into winter.

In December in Kimberley, Conservation Officers reported that a garbage-habituated bear appeared to be avoiding hibernation in the depths of winter, with a black bear spotted out and about in -25 C temperatures.

READ MORE: Food-conditioned bears avoiding hibernation

READ MORE: 31 bears euthanized in the Elk Valley
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