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HomeNewsSeveral bear sightings and dog chases cub in James White Park

Several bear sightings and dog chases cub in James White Park

A dog had a close call with a mother bear as it chased her cub in Fernie’s James While Park over the weekend, along with several other reported sightings close to residents’ homes.

According to Kathy Murray, WildSafeBC Elk Valley Community Coordinator, the dog was out for a walk in the park before it caught the cub’s scent and took off.

“The owner had the dog on a leash with a collar, but the dog smelled the bear and broke out of the collar and chased the cub. This brought the cub and the sow back to the owner,” explained Murray. “The dog just had minor scratches on its nose, but the bear came within inches of the dog walker.”

Murray added that while the event was a close encounter, there were no serious injuries.

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Murray said dog owners should extra caution with their pets, especially as bears are preparing for hibernation.

“At this time of year, expect bears in town, and dogs chasing bears and cubs will usually provoke defensive behaviour and potentially lead to conflict,” said Murray. “Double-check that your dog is not able to break out of the collar, and it is tight enough, keep your dogs leashed and under control, or consider using a harness.”

Several other sightings were reported as the bear and her cub roamed near James White Park looking for food.

“There is a residential area that backs right onto the park, and the bear and cub were seen in back yards on Sunday night,” said Murray.

Murray offered some additional advice as residents will more likely see bears in the community.

“Keep your garbage indoors, away from bears 24/7 until you put it out on the day of collection. Also, apple trees are a major attractant to bears, they’re in people’s back yards, and will draw bears into the community,” said Murray.

As well, dog owners are urged to keep their dogs leashed, especially in heavily forested areas, where visibility is poor.

Conflict with bears or other wild animals can be reported to Conservation Officers’ Service RAPP line.

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