Fish and Wildlife officers have been especially busy this fall dealing with bears in our town.
Acting District Officer for Fish and Wildlife in Cochrane, Samantha Hillier says, “This year is a particularly interesting year because we have not had this many bears in town at once, in Cochrane. It is very important for the residents to be vigilant and take steps to make sure that we do not leave anything out for the bears to get into.”
Hillier says there have been reports of black bears in the Riverview, Willows, Benchlands, Gleneagles, and Fireside communities. “In all these areas we have set traps since about the beginning, middle of September, we have set five traps in Cochrane. So far, we have been unsuccessful in capturing any of the bears, mainly due to the fact that they have been rewarded with garbage or compost or fruit trees and things of that nature.”
The greatest concern for Fish and Wildlife officers is that bears will become habituated to humans without the possibility of rehabilitation. Such was the case with a black bear sow and her three cubs in Canmore that became so habituated to human food and garbage that they entered a restaurant. Even after officers tried to relocate the family of bears, they returned and, in the end, sadly meant their demise and were euthanized.
We can all do our part in dealing with the increased bear population and if you do see a bear in the community or notice bins have been knocked over you are asked to call Fish and Wildlife at 1-800-642-3800 so they can respond to the situation.
If you come face to face with a bear Hillier advises, “If you encounter a bear, number one, make sure you give it its space. Do not approach the bear. Typically, if they know you are there, they are not going to attack you. They are more scavengers, so they are looking for easier food sources than us. So, they are just looking for easy food sources like garbage, bird feeders, compost, and things of that nature.”
Hillier says that our warm fall weather has been a mitigating factor in the bear activity too saying, “Well, typically they would be quiet right now, but our summer has extended into October, so when the temperature starts to dip, they should start going into their den.” She figures the bears should be getting ready for a long winter’s nap by the end of October. That means that we all must be diligent and extra bear aware for the next couple of weeks.
Call 1-800-642-3800 to report a bear sighting or suspected activity.