Elk Valley Bear Aware

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Preventing human-bear conflicts in Fernie, Sparwood, Elkford and the South Country
Updated: 2 hours 15 min ago

Cougar sighting on Broken Hip and Bear and cubs on Erics Trip

Tue, 08/22/2017 - 17:35

A cougar was reported earlier today on Broken Hip trail by the Scary Trail junction.  A bear and cubs have been hanging around the bottom of Erics Trip trail.

Fernie is Wildlife Country.  Be prepared and expect to encounter wildlife anytime.

For more information on wildlife safety go tohttps://wildsafebc.com/species/

 

 

Cougar sighting in The Cedars early this morning

Tue, 08/22/2017 - 09:34

Tuesday August 22.  A large cougar was reported at 6:30 am this morning on a path in The Cedars by the Mt Fernie Provincial Park Campground.

Caution Cougars in Area

Cougars are wide ranging animals and may show up in urban settings from time to time. If they are passing through it is important they do not find food that may encourage them to stay.  Many urban incidents occur with young cougars that have not yet learned how to hunt effectively or older animals that can no longer hunt in the wilds.

  • Feed pets indoors and keep pets indoors, especially at night. Cats and small dogs that are left to free-range, hunt small birds and rodents and, in turn, become prey themselves.
  • Never feed deer or other possible prey species for cougars. While deer may be pleasant to watch, they can attract large predators such as cougars into residential neighborhoods. As well, urban deer present their own set of problems to you and your neighbors.
  • Cougars are most active during the period from dusk until dawn

If you encounter a Cougar

  • STAY CALM, DO NOT RUN, MAINTAIN EYE CONTACT
  • Pick up small children and small pets
  • Let the Cougar know you are human-NOT prey
  • Make yourself as large and as mean as possible
  • Use your voice in a loud and assertive manner
  • Back away slowly. Never turn your back on wildlife
  • If the Cougar attacks, fight back with everything that you’ve got, it is a predatory attack

Never Approach or Feed Wildlife

Report human/wildlife conflict to 1-877-952-7277 or #7277 on cell.

 

60% of calls made to the Conservation Officer Service Hotline cite bears accessing garbage

Mon, 08/21/2017 - 10:16

Grizzly bears were seen throughout the day all over Elkford late last week and a hiker was bluff charged by a grizzly bear on the lost lake trail.  Although there have been no sightings of the grizzly bears the last few days be prepared and expect to encounter wildlife anytime.

Between the start of 2014 and July 9 2017, there have been 26 128 Problem Wildlife Occurrence Reports (PWOR’s) regarding bears made to the Conservation Officer Hotline (RAPP) Report All Poachers and Polluters.  15 676 or 60% of the calls cited bears accessing garbage followed by 4 085 or 16%  bears accessing fruit trees.  It is obvious that garbage and fruit trees need better management.

Keeping garbage stored indoors until collection day and securing wildlife attractants is the best way to keep people safe, prevent property damage, and avoid the unnecessary killing of bears that come into conflict with people.

Bottom line: Garbage, birdseed and pet food etc. attracts bears to your property making it more likely for the bear to break into your home creating a safety risk for your family and a death sentence for the bear.

For more information on managing wildlife attractants go to https://wildsafebc.com/

 

 

 

 

Grizzly bears in Elkford

Thu, 08/17/2017 - 12:00

Grizzly bears, like people will choose the path of least resistance.  Be prepared and expect to enounter bears anytime.

 

The safest wildlife encounter is one prevented. Your best defense is to be aware of wildlife in the area.

 Make Noise to avoid a surprise encounter (use your human voice, clap hands or two rocks together – especially near running water or in dense brush)

  • Carry a walking stick (adults can carry Bear Spray in a side holster)
  • Walk in groups
  • Keep dogs leashed and/or under voice control

     If you encounter a Bear:

  • STAY CALM
  • DO NOT RUN
  • Let the bear know you are human (arms out to side)
  • Use your voice in a calm, assertive manner.
  • Back away slowly and allow the bear an escape route
  • Never turn your back on wildlife
  • Do not approach or feed wildlife

Call 1-877-952-7277 to report human/wildlife conflict

 

 

 

Grizzly bear sightings reported throughout Elkford

Wed, 08/16/2017 - 17:07

Two grizzly bears have been seen throughout the District of Elkford.  Please ensure that all garbage is kept indoors away from the grizzly bears and all other attractants are secured.

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

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WildSafeBC had a great time at the Bit Bitty Bop Bitty Boo Festival

Mon, 08/14/2017 - 13:09

Thanks to all the kids who stopped by the WildSafeBC display at the kids festival at Rotary Park in Fernie yesterday.   I just love that 5 year olds know what to do if they see a bear and where garbage should be stored between collection days.

I am looking forward to my wildlife educational blitz with the Elk Valley and South Country schools coming up this fall.

Two cougars destroyed near Island Lake Lodge in Fernie

Sun, 08/13/2017 - 08:48

On August 12, 2017 the Fernie COS was forced to destroy two sibling immature cougars near the Island Lake Lodge. The approximately 2.5 year old cougars were destroyed due to the risk they posed to the general public. One healthy male and one underweight female cougar were destroyed by COs. The pair were sighted near the Island Lake Lodge area numerous times on separate occasion within a two week period. The cougars displayed abnormal behaviors by approaching the public and in one case a member of the public was forced to though rocks at one of the cougars in order to retreat to safety.

Cougar sighting in the Annex park last night, Grzzly bear on Fairy Creek trail this morning

Fri, 08/11/2017 - 13:05

A cougar sighting was reported by the off leash dog park in the Annex last night at about 9:30pm.  A grizzly bear was reported this morning at 11 am on the Fairy Creek trail about 300 meters from the visitor info center.  Two grizzly bears were reported feeding on a carcass on Fording River Road last night in Elkford.  A dozen by standers were taking photos and video contributing to the habituation of these bears.

We have chosen to live in wildlife habitat.  Please never approach wildlife and never feed wildlife.  Habituation and food conditioning leads to the needless destruction of bears.

For more information on wildlife go to https://wildsafebc.com/

Bears, cougars, moose, people and new developments! Be part of the solution; join me at the 10 am Committee of the Whole meeting at City Hall in Fernie this Monday August 14.

Thu, 08/10/2017 - 14:34

Fernie is a hot spot for recreation, that’s why a lot of us have moved here and the developments are approved.  We choose to live here so it’s up to us to work with this. I will be making recommendations to our Mayor and Council on how we can help wildlife and people stay safe at the Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday August 14th at 10 am.  I would greatly appreciate your support. Below is a summary of my recommendations in a nutshell.

New developments such as Montane, The Cedars and the newly approved Lizard Creek to name a few are located in prime wildlife habitat. These developments and are an ideal opportunity to set a precedent as Bear Smart Mountain Community Developments and ensure that the outside perimeter of Fernie remains a safe place for wildlife and people.

WildSafeBC recommends certified communal bear resistant dumpsters rather than curb side collection for developments and businesses on the outside perimeter in prime wildlife habitat.  Bear resistant communal dumpsters have proven successful in preventing human/wildlife conflicts in national parks such as Banff and Jasper and in communities such as Canmore and in Bear Smart BC communities of New Denver and Squamish.   For more information on the Bear Smart Community program go to www.env.gov.bc.ca/wld/bearsmart.

Great local examples where we have no recorded incidents of bears accessing garbage are:  Pinnacle Ridge and New Horizon where garbage is kept secured inside a building.  Timberline Condos have communal bear resistant dumpsters for the strata.    A great example of a “Bear Smart” campground is the Fernie RV Resort which has bear resistant dumpsters and food lockers.  Castle Mountain Villas had two bears destroyed who were accessing unsecured garbage within a couple of weeks a few years ago.   Since they have upgraded to bear resistant dumpsters there have been no bears reported accessing garbage.

I understand the concerns from developers regarding the esthetics of bear resistant containers.  Below is a great local example of a bear resistant container inside a secure building.  This can be done on a larger scale as an extra measure to ensure garbage is inaccessible to wildlife; a bear resistant dumpster inside a secure locked building or enclosure.

Additional “Bear Smart” guidelines should also be considered for new developments to prevent human wildlife conflict.

-livestock (chickens, pigs) must be protected from wildlife with electric fencing

-no planting of non-native fruit bearing trees (apple trees and mountain ash)

-bear resistant solid waste management system (bear resistant communal dumpsters)

-no bird feeders allowed during bear season, April to November…

As development, tourism and trail use continue to increase in Fernie and the surrounding Elk Valley so does the potential for human/wildlife conflict.  Earlier this year we had a grizzly bear and cubs bluff charge a mountain biker on a popular trail on a Sunday afternoon in Montane.  Since the August long weekend there has been a lot of cougar activity on Lazy Lizard trail, a trail runner bluff charged by a grizzly and cubs on the Tamarac Trail and moose sightings on Eric’s trip and by Mushroom head.  Is it responsible to add unsecured garbage and other attractants (fruit trees, livestock, bird seed…) accessible to wildlife to this mix?

A great local example of garbage inaccessible to wildlife at Pinnacle Ridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moose sightings reported on trails in the Mt Fernie Provincial Park

Wed, 08/09/2017 - 13:48

Wednesday August 9.  Moose sightings were reported by mountain bikers on Eric’s Trip and Phat Bastard trails yesterday.

Moose Safety Tips

  • Moose are wild animals and need to be given space and privacy. Never approach a moose. Give the animals a wide berth and ensure they always have an escape route.
  • Female moose with calves need extra space. Moose cows are very protective of their young and may attack if they perceive a threat. If you come across a cow and calf, calmly leave the area immediately.
  • Be aware of moose body language. A threatened moose may lower its head and flatten its ears before charging. If you see these behaviors, find an escape route.
  • If a moose does charge you, getting inside a nearby building or car is the safest option, but hiding behind a large tree or other solid object may effectively block the charge.
  • Dogs and moose don’t mix. A moose can seriously injure or kill a dog if it feels threatened. Likewise, loose dogs can harass moose, causing undue stress. Never let your dog out if there is a moose in your yard.
  • Use caution when walking dogs, keep them under voice control and/or leash.  Dogs chasing wildlife may result in human/wildlife conflict.
  • Drive cautiously, scanning for moose along roadsides, especially between dusk and dawn to avoid collisions.

For more information on moose go to https://wildsafebc.com/moose/

 

moose deserve their space and privacy

 

 

Trail runner bluff charged by grizzly and cubs last night on the Tamarac Trail

Tue, 08/08/2017 - 12:52

Tuesday August 8.  A trail runner was bluff charged by a grizzly bear and cubs last night at about 8:30pm 200 meters from the summit of the Tamarac Trail.  The grizzly and cubs bluff charged him and ran in the other direction.  Normal defensive behavior for a grizzly bear defending her cubs, food and space.  Fortunately the lone trail runner who  was calling out about every 50 meters and had bear spray was well prepared and escaped without injury.

For more information on wildlife safety go to https://wildsafebc.com/species/

 

Be prepared to share the trails with bears, cougars, moose and other trail users.

Mon, 08/07/2017 - 07:58

Cougars, bears and moose have all been reported on trails throughout the Elk Valley the last few weeks.  This past long weekend cougar sightings were reported at the top of Lazy Lizard trail and by the parking lot of the Old Growth trail head on the way up to Island Lake Lodge.  All trails were closed for a period of time while the Conservation Officers investigated the area for a possible kill site.  Nothing was found so trails were reopened.

Last week a moose cow charged at a biker on a trail by Maiden Lake. The moose had been hanging around in the wetland, a great place to be on a hot sunny day.   She ran out onto the trail to investigate when she was startled by the biker.  Bear sightings were also reported on Montane Blue trail and Grizzly bears reported at the Elk Valley Regional Park and by SMS just south of Elkford.

As trail use continues to increase so will the potential for human/wildlife conflict.  It is especially important for everyone to be prepared to encounter wildlife and share the trail with other users including:  hikers, bikers, trail runners, horses etc…  The best way to prevent collisions is to slow down and call out when approaching blind corners or areas where the line of sight is poor, yield to uphill traffic and wildlife and never leave home without bear spray.

For more information on wildlife safety go to https://wildsafebc.com/

Mountain bikers, your speed and quietness put you at greater risk for sudden encounters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lazy Lizard trail and Island Lake Lodge trails now open

Fri, 08/04/2017 - 16:20

There were 3 cougar sightings at Island Lake Lodge yesterday.  Island Lake Lodge had 2 Conservation Officers survey the property in and around the sightings and it was determined to be unlikely that an animal carcass is in the area.  It is more likely that the cougar were passing through the area.  Trails on Island Lake Lodge property are open at this time.

Be prepared and expect to encounter wildlife anytime.  Report human/wildlife conflict to the 24 hour Conservation Officer hotline on 1-877-952-7277

For more information on wildlife safety go t0https://wildsafebc.com/species/

 

Lazy Lizard and all hiking trails at Island Lake Lodge closed until further notice

Fri, 08/04/2017 - 11:19

Friday August 4th.  Lazy Lizard and all hiking trails at Island Lake are closed while the Conservation Officer Service is investigating the area looking for a possible kill site following a number of cougar sightings throughout the day yesterday.

Thank you for respecting this closure for your own safety and the wildlife in the area.

For more information on cougar safety go to https://wildsafebc.com/cougar/

Bear sighting reported on Montane Blue trail

Fri, 08/04/2017 - 07:56

Friday August 4th.  A bear sighting was reported at the end of Montane Blue trail (by River Road access) yesterday evening.  The bear turned around and walked away when they called out.  The cyclists turned around and took a differnt route down.  Thank you for for yielding to the bear and giving it space.

For more information about bears go to https://wildsafebc.com/black-bear/

The safest wildlife encounter is one prevented

Several Cougar sightings reported on Lazy Lizard trail in Fernie today

Thu, 08/03/2017 - 19:54

Thursday August 3.  Cougar sightings have been reported throughout the day around the top trail head up at Island Lake Lodgeand a little ways down the Lazy Lizard trail today.  A cyclist reported coming around a corner and literally riding over the cougars tail.

Cougar Safety tips

*Be Aware of the wildlife in the area

*Make noise to avoid a surprise encounter (use your human voice)

*Walk in groups

*Carry a walking stick (adults can carry Bear Spray deterrent in a side holster)

*Keep dogs leashed

 

If you encounter a Cougar:

 

*STAY CALM

*DO NOT RUN

*MAINTAIN EYE CONTACT

*Pick up small children and small pets

*LET the Cougar know you are human-NOT prey

*Make yourself as large and as mean as possible

*Use your voice in a loud and assertive manner

*Back away slowly. Never turn your back on wildlife

*If the Cougar attacks, fight back with everything that you’ve got, it is a predatory attack

*Never approach or feed wildlife

 

       Report Sightings to 1-877-952-7277 or #7277 on cell

Grizzly bear sightings at Elk Valley Regional Park and by SMS in Elkford

Thu, 08/03/2017 - 08:23

Grizzly bear sightings have been reported by the Elk Valley Regional Park just south of Elkford and by SMS the last few days.

WildSafeBC

Thanks to the kids for educating their parents about wildlife

had a wonderful time at the River View Market yesterday.  Thanks to everyone who dropped by to learn about wildlife and especially all the kids who are all so knowledgeable.  Remember, I am counting on you to remind your parents about the importance of preventing human/wildlife conflcit at home and on the trails.

Moose charged a biker by Maiden Lake in Fernie

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 07:36

A moose cow has been hanging around in the wetland behind Maiden Lake. She ran out onto the trail to investigate when she was startled by the biker.

Moose Safety Tips

  • Moose are wild animals and need to be given space and privacy. Never approach a moose. Give the animals a wide berth and ensure they always have an escape route.
  • Female moose with calves need extra space. Moose cows are very protective of their young and may attack if they perceive a threat. If you come across a cow and calf, calmly leave the area immediately.
  • Be aware of moose body language. A threatened moose may lower its head and flatten its ears before charging. If you see these behaviours, find an escape route.
  • If a moose does charge you, getting inside a nearby building or car is the safest option, but hiding behind a large tree or other solid object may effectively block the charge.
  • Dogs and moose don’t mix. A moose can seriously injure or kill a dog if it feels threatened. Likewise, loose dogs can harass moose, causing undue stress. Never let your dog out if there is a moose in your yard.
  • Use caution when walking dogs, keep them under voice control and/or leash.  Dogs chasing wildlife may result in human/wildlife conflict.
  • Drive cautiously, scanning for moose along roadsides, especially between dusk and dawn to avoid collisions.

For more information go to https://wildsafebc.com/moose/

 

 

Grizzly bear and 3 cubs just reported headed towards base of Mt Fernie Trail

Mon, 07/31/2017 - 10:18

Monday July 31, 7:30 am.  A grizzly bear and 3 cubs of the year were seen early this morning headed towards the Mt Fernie trailhead.

The safest wildlife encounter is one prevented. 

At home:  keep garbage locked up between collection days, clean up fruit trees, secure BBQ’s and bring in bird-feeders.

On the trail:  Avoid surprise encounters, call out, clap or sing to warn wildlife and other trail users of your presence, don’t litter, carry bear spray and know how to use it.

 

Bears seen in Mt Fernie Provincial Park, by the Ammonite trail and Josephine Falls

Mon, 07/31/2017 - 08:37

Expect to see bears near campgrounds

Wildlife update Monday July 31

Fernie

A bear and two cubs have been seen throughout the Mt Fernie Provincial Park, in the Sherwoody trail network area and by Dem Bones and Mushroom Head trail.  A bear and cub were also seen at the start of the trail to the Ammonite by the creek just off Coal Creek Road.

Elkford

Grizzly bear sightings have been reported by Josephine Falls.    

It is camping season.  Here a few things to remember when out camping.

To stay safe and protect the wilderness when camping in bear country, keep two goals in mind:

Preventing encounters with wildlife and keeping  a clean campsite.

Don’t

keep food, toiletries or anything that smells in your tent, this could attract bears.

Cook near your sleeping area

set up your tent on a wildlife travel path or near berry bushes.

Feed wildlife, ever

DO

Store food in lockers provided or in the trunk of your vehicle

Keep camp area clean and free of garbage

Clean up immediately after cooking

Backcountry camping

If you are camping in an undeveloped area use the triangle approach to setting up your campsite

Your tent, cook area and food storage should be 100 metres apart and form a triangle.

If possible your food should be hung 4m off the ground and 3 m away from a tree

Make sure your tent is not on a wildlife travel path or near berry bushes.

For more information go to https://wildsafebc.com/

 

 

 

 

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