Elk Valley Bear Aware

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Preventing human-bear conflicts in Fernie, Sparwood, Elkford and the South Country
Updated: 2 hours 53 min ago

Black bear sightings reported on Fairy Creek Trail

Wed, 09/05/2018 - 12:11

Wednesday September 5.  A black bear was reported on the Fairy Creek by the cattleguard.

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

For more information on wildlife and safety go to www.wildsafebc.com

 

Congratulations to Sparwood who is providing residents with certified bear resistant carts.

Fri, 08/31/2018 - 07:18

Sparwood is taking a big step forward in mitigating human/wildlife conflict and setting a precedent for other rural BC communities by providing residents with certified bear resistant carts. 1700 certified bear resistant carts will be delivered to all residents in Sparwood this week with the new automated garbage collection system starting September 4th.  There is no such thing as a 100% bear proof container.  The carts are bear-resistant, reinforced with metal and latches,   meaning they have been designed and tested to make it difficult for bears to access the garbage inside.

When storing the garbage container, residents will need to ensure that their cart is locked and is in a secure and safe location as to prevent bears and other wildlife from removing or damaging the cart from private property. This can be done by storing the cart indoors in a secure location between collection days during bear season (April to November). In the rare case that they cannot be kept inside a building, both clips must be locked, and the cart may need to be chained to a secure anchor point such as a strong railing or post, so the bear cannot drag the cart away.

As always, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to prevent dangerous wildlife from access unnatural food on their property, (BC wildlife Act, Section 33.1). 

Learn how to use bear spray. Tonight, August 29th, 6pm Fernie Bike Park Gazebo

Wed, 08/29/2018 - 08:27

Are you an avid hiker or mountain biker?  Do you have bear spray accessible and how confident are you if you need to use it?  WildSafeBC will be running a “how to safely use bear spray” session tonight, August 29th at 6pm at the Bike Park Gazebo behind the aquatic centre in Fernie, free of charge.  This is a great opportunity to come and get hands on practice with inert bear spray (bear spray without the pepper).

For more information contact fernie@wildsafebc.com

Recent cougar attack and cougars in Fernie. We live in wildlife country, read on to learn more about cougars.

Tue, 08/28/2018 - 08:43

A 4 year old was attacked by a cougar a few weeks ago and a cougar had to be destroyed in Fernie a few nights ago.  We have chosen to live in wildlife country and should be prepared to encounter wildlife anytime and understand wildlife behavior.

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.

Thank you to Elk Valley Homesteading Volunteers who picked two truck loads of apples in Fernie.

Mon, 08/27/2018 - 09:19

Feed families and livestock, not bears.! The fruit picked by the volunteers was given to families and to farmers to feed livestock as opposed to ending up in the landfill or as an easy food source baiting bears into town.

Do you need help with your apples?  There are resources.  If you are unable to manage your fruit tree due to disability, illness, you are elderly and need assistance picking the fruit, contact:  Rachel Dortman 1-250-423-8665, Facebook: Elk Valley Homesteading.

Wildsight in Fernie has the Apple Capture tree sharing program and equipment available to lend: fruit picking and tree pruning equipment, apple presses, dehydrators, sauce makers, etc.   Call: 1-250-423-3322, elkvalley@wildsight.ca, http://www.wildsight.ca/branches/elkvalley/

Owning a fruit tree in bear country is a big responsibility! Fruit needs to be picked daily as it ripens and not allowed to accumulate on the ground is important. Pruning your fruit tree will result in a better and more manageable quality of fruit.  Other options are removing the fruiting tree and replacing it with a native non fruit bearing tree.

 

Learn how to use bear spray. Wednesday August 29th, 6pm Fernie Bike Park Gazebo

Fri, 08/24/2018 - 09:40

Are you an avid hiker or mountain biker?  Do you have bear spray accessible and how confident are you if you need to use it?  WildSafeBC will be running a “how to safely use bear spray” session on Wednesday August 29th at 6pm at the Bike Park Gazebo behind the aquatic centre in Fernie, free of charge.  This is a great opportunity to come and get hands on practice with inert bear spray (bear spray without the pepper).

For more information contact fernie@wildsafebc.com

Someone dumped windfall crab-apples along 4th avenue A, just above the boat launch in Fernie

Tue, 08/21/2018 - 15:27

This happens every year where people feed bears and use easily accessible areas or popular back country recreational areas as a dumping ground. We encourage people not to feed bears or attract them to our neighborhoods and recreational areas. How about trying to find a farmer and sharing this bounty or taking unwanted fruit directly to the transfer station and disposing of it responsibly.

Owning a fruit tree in bear country is a big responsibility! Fruit needs to be picked daily as it ripens and not allowed to accumulate on the ground is important. Pruning your fruit tree will result in a better and more manageable quality of fruit.  Other options are removing the fruiting tree and replacing it with a native non fruit bearing tree.

Do you need help with your apples?  There are resources.  Contact Wildsight Fernie Branch Facebook: Fernie Apple Capture tree sharing. -Available to lend: fruit picking and tree pruning equipment, apple presses, dehydrators, sauce makers, etc.   Call: 1-250-423-3322, elkvalley@wildsight.ca, http://www.wildsight.ca/branches/elkvalley/

If you are unable to manage your fruit tree due to disability, illness, you are elderly and need assistance picking the fruit, contact:  Rachel Dortman 1-250-423-8665, Facebook: Elk Valley Homesteading.

 

Cougar sighting reported on Blue Matador trail last night

Tue, 08/21/2018 - 09:15

Tuesday August 21.  A large cougar was reported by mountain bikers on the Blue Matador Trail last night.  Cougar Safety Tips:  Attacks by cougar are rare but can be fatal, especially if young children are involved. In all cases you must fight back as cougar attacks are always predatory and the cougar sees you as a meal. Use rocks, sticks or whatever you have at hand to protect yourself. If you see a cougar that is watching you, maintain eye contact with the cougar and speak to it in a loud firm voice. Reinforce the fact that you are a human and not an easy target. Back out of the area and seek assistance or shelter. Bear spray can be used as ytour ;ast best defence on cougars.

Call the Conservation Officer Service reporting line (1-877-952-7277) to report cougar sightings and incidents.

Bear sighting in the Annex Park by the off leash dog park

Wed, 08/15/2018 - 13:13

August 15, 1 pm.  A black bear was seen in the bushes feeding on saskatoon berries just West of the off leash dog park in the Annex.

     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

Let’s work togehter to keep wildlife wild and communites safe by keeping garbage indoors inaccessible to bears, cleaning up fruit trees and securing all bear attractants. Remove the attractants so bears move on back to feed on natural food in the wilderness.

 

 

 

Daily reports of a grizzly bear feeding on apples on properties in Rosen Lake

Tue, 08/14/2018 - 10:44

There have been daily reports of a grizzly bear feeding on apples while passing through properties in Rosen Lake. “I don’t mind bears in my yard eating apples, what’s the big deal?”  This is a reply that I often get when I visit people with trees loaded with apples and rotting windfall fruit all over the ground!  Bears will pass through our yards; we chose to live in bear country!  It is important however, that the bear is not rewarded for being there.

When a bear gets food (garbage and apples) in your yard, it doesn’t know that your tolerance for bears is higher than your neighbours.  It learns that a house, lawn, bicycle and the faint smell of people comes with an easy meal.  It eats, learns and moves on.  Eventually it will find itself somewhere it is not welcome.  And when bears and humans are in conflict, the bear dies nearly every time.

Thanks for cleaning up the fuit trees, locking up the garbage, bringing

apple trees will attract bears to your yard

in the birdfeeder and bears will move on.

 

Hot weather likely to dry up the berry crop and push bears into town

Mon, 08/13/2018 - 10:13

Hot weather will start to dry up the berry crop any day now and reduce the availability of natural food for wildlife.  Bears have a sense of smell far greater than dogs and it is this sense of smell that helps them locate food at great distances.  Once the berries dry up, bears will be drawn into communities to look for easy food like garbage, fruit trees and even birdfeeders.  Bears account for over 20 000 calls to the Conservation Officer reporting line every year.  Garbage is the number one attractant cited when reporting a call.

Wildlife sightings

Fernie

Moose, black bears and grizzly bears reported throughout the trail network.  Be prepared and expect to encounter wildlife anytime.  No reported sightings in town, let’s try to keep it that way by locking up garbage, cleaning up fruit trees and bringing in birdfeeders.

Sparwood

Black bears reported in the campground.

Elkford

Grizzly bear sightings reported at the bottom of Alpine Way and by SMS.  Cougar sighting reported just north of Karens Pet Inn.

South Country

Grizzly bear sightings reported by the springs at Rosen Lake and on Shelbourne road in Jaffray.

Thank you for keeping your property free of wildlife attractants and putting thought and end energy into preventing encounters with wildlife when out in the back country.

 

Mountain biker charged by a female moose defending her calves on Ridgemont trails in Fernie yesterday

Sun, 07/22/2018 - 08:38

“Had a very close encounter with momma moose who was with her twins on Broken Derailleur today. She came out of the forest onto the trail right behind me. We had been making lots of noise so surprised to see her. Once she saw me she dropped her head and charged for me. Avoided a serious incident by jumping over my bike and tree stump down the slope into the forest. Back tracked back to Ridgemont Rd and rode up the road to Eric’s trail entrance but who came wandering out of the forest again? Yes, momma moose and her calves. Turned around immediately, rode down Ridgemont Rd and called it quits for today”.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Is your bird feeder a bear feeder?

Tue, 07/17/2018 - 10:44

“Why do I need to bring in my birdfeeder”? We ask everyone to bring bird feeders inside during bear season (April to November), when birds have plenty of wild food sources and feeders can easily attract bears right into your yard or on to your deck.  Why do bears go for bird feeders? One pound of birdseed contains approximately 1700 calories and the average bird feeder will hold up to six pounds of bird seed.
A hungry bear is biologically programmed to pack in as many calories as possible. It takes a bear many hours of foraging on natural foods to get the 12 000 plus calories it can down in five minutes at a bird feeder.

Keeping garbage indoors between collection days, cleaning your BBQ after each use, bringing in bird feeders and securing all other attractants will result in a cleaner and safer community for people and bears.

For more information on preventing human/wildlife conflict go to www.wildsafebc.com

Grizzly, black bears, moose and cougars all reported in recreational areas over the weekend.

Mon, 07/16/2018 - 09:49

We choose to recreate in wildlife country!  A cougar was seen by the bike park in Fernie on Saturday evening, brown colored black bear and 2 cubs seen on Kush, moose cow and calf seen at the top of Gorby and a cyclist had an encounter with a grizzly bear on the Trans Canada trail past Wardner.

Be prepared and expect to enocutner wildlife anytime and have your bear spray accessible, ideally in a holster on your person just in case you get seperated from your bike.

For more information on wildlife go to www.wildsafebc.com

Bikers, bears, berries and collisions!

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 11:14

Boo to the downhill bikers that I almost had a full on collision with early this morning.  You are lucky I wasn’t a bear feeding in a berry bush!  Thanks to the next group of downhill bikers who were calling out, warned me of their presence, slowed down and pulled over to let me keep on climbing up the trail.

I was out surveying the berry crop.  A great berry crop will provide lots of natural food for bears and hopefully result in a reduction in human/wildlife conflict.  If you are out berry picking, hiking, or biking through berry patches be prepared and expect to encounter bears anytime.

Thanks for helping keep wildlife wild and communities safe and practicing good multi trail use etiquette.

For more information on wildlife safety go to www.wildsafebc.com

Bears reported accessing garbage in open and overflowing bear resistant dumpsters

Mon, 07/09/2018 - 08:17

Bear resistant dumpsters are only as bear resistant as the users!  We’ve had reports of bears accessing garbage from bear resistant dumpsters that were left open and/or overflowing with garbage.  The dumpster is only bear resistant if it closed and latched properly.  If the bin is full please do not dump garbage next to it.  Take it to another location, the bear resistant bins at F.A.R. in parking lot #4, the transfer station on Highway 3 or the public bins at City Hall, the arena or the aquatic centre.

Businesses please ensure that bins are emptied on a regular basis.   You may need to schedule an extra pick up after a busy weekend.  Thank you for ensuring that all of your guests are informed about the responsible disposal of garbage in bear country.   If you need support with this please contact fernie@wildsafebc.com.

For more information on preventing human/wildlife conflict go to www.wildsafebc.com

Grizzly bear sightings reported on Swine Flu trail this morning

Thu, 07/05/2018 - 13:29

There have been two reports of grizzly bear sightings on Swine flu Trail this morning.  Make noise to avoid surprising bears at close range, travel in groups during daylight and have bear spray ready and accessible just in case.

For more information on staying safe in bear country go to www.wildsafebc.com

Learn how to use bear spray. Thursday July 5th, 6pm Fernie Bike Park Gazebo

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 09:28

Are you planning on heading out on the trails?   Do you have bear spray accessible and how confident are you if you need to use it?  WildSafeBC will be running a “how to safely use bear spray” session, tomorrow, Thursday July 5th at 6pm at the Bike Park Gazebo behind the aquatic centre in Fernie, free of charge.  This is a great opportunity to come and get hands on practice with inert bear spray (bear spray without the pepper).

For more information contact fernie@wildsafebc.com.

Grizzly or black bear? How do you tell the difference?

Tue, 07/03/2018 - 13:31

It can be difficult to tell the difference between black and grizzly bears.  Brown colored bears are often reported as grizzly bears but remember that black bears come in a variety of colors-everything from the white Kermode bear through their namesake black and every shade of brown in between.  Black bears have longer pointed ears, short dark claws, a straight face profile and their muzzle is usually lighter in color.  Grizzly bears also have a variety of colors ranging from black to almost blonde.  Grizzly bears have long light colored claws, shorter rounded ears, a dished face profile and a shoulder hump.

Whether it is a black or a grizzly bear, if it is surprised at close range it is likely to react defensively.  That is why it is important to make noise to warn bears of your presence and avoid surprise encounters and have bear spray ready and accessible just in case.

For more information on bears go to www.wildsafebc.com

Grizzly and black bears reported on Fernie trails over the July long weekend.

Tue, 07/03/2018 - 08:50

Tuesday July 3.  Grizzly bear reported on Swine Flu on Saturday later in the evening.  Small cinnamon cub and a larger cinnamon bear seen throughout the Montane trail network.  Brown colored bear with two cubs on Coal Discovery Trail, reported as grizzly bears.

It can be difficult to tell the difference between black and grizzly bears.  Brown colored bears (like the one in the photo) are often reported as grizzly bears.  Whether it is a black or a grizzly bear, if it is surprised at close range it is likely to react defensively.  That is why it is important to make noise to warn bears of your presence and avoid surprise encounters and have bear spray ready and accessible just in case.

For more information on bears go to www.wildsafebc.com

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