Two black bear cubs have been orphaned after their mother was hit and killed by a vehicle in a construction zone just north of Bragg Creek on Hwy. 22.
A crew from Redwood Meadows Emergency Services came across the incident around 7 p.m. on Aug. 10 while returning from another call, says Fire Chief Rob Evans.
The vehicle was damaged and its passengers were shaken by the incident but uninjured, he says, and the assistance of EMS wasn't required.
"Unfortunately the sow died in the collision, but the crew also noticed quite quickly that there were two cubs off in the trees off the road that were calling for her," he says.
He says the crew stayed at the scene and contacted Fish and Wildlife to help remove the sow's carcass so the cubs wouldn't be tempted to cross the highway.
"That was our main concern after we realized no one was injured and there was no hazard from the actual collision," says Evans. "We wanted to make sure that the cubs were safe"
Others have reported that the cubs did indeed attempt to return to where their mother was killed and are encouraging people to watch for them when driving through the 50k construction zone just north of Bragg Creek.
Evans says what we should all take from this incident is to stay within the posted speed limit, especially in construction zones, and be on the alert for wildlife crossing the corridor, particularly at dawn and dusk at this time of the year.
It's not just bears crossing, either. He says deer and elk commonly cross that stretch of highway.
"Just keep an eye out for wildlife, because they can pop out of the ditch so quickly."
The Redwood Emergency Services is 100 per cent manned by volunteers who have extensive training. When it comes to larger animals, though, their formal training revolves around livestock.
"You get any deer, any elk, anything like that, those are big animals, and if they're injured, we just aren't equipped or trained specifically for that type of incident, so we do use the resources of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Officers if it's appropriate."
They also keep communication lines open with the Cochrane Ecological Institute.
"Bears are different because they are legislated differently, but if it's a fawn, for example, and it's abandoned or orphaned in an incident like this, we've been able to take it to the CEI group and have them care for it."
There's no further update at this point on the welfare of the cubs.