There were multiple calls of bears getting into garbage and encounters on trails over the weekend.

WildSafeBC said there were reports of bears on 4th and 3rd Avenue as well as scat found behind the Legion building. A mountain biker reportedly encountered a grizzly with two cubs on Deadfall Trail and a black bear with two cubs was also spotted by the Montane Barn.

Kathy Murray, the Elk Valley Community Coordinator for WildSafeBC said it’s important to remain calm if you see a bear and to back away slowly.

Stock image of a grizzly bear trying to get into a collection bin. (Supplied by Pixabay)

“Be prepared and expect to encounter wildlife at any time,” Murray told MyEastKootenayNow.com. “Be a responsible pet owner, keep your pet on a leash if there’s wildlife in the area and keep bear spray and know how to use it.”

According to Murray, bears will defend their food, territory and young or react defensively if a person encroaches on their space, or if the bear feels threatened.

Murray said the recent issue has been people leaving garbage carts outdoors before collection day.

“These garbage carts are not bear-resistant, nothing is bearproof. The carts work well, they will keep crows and dogs out of the garbage, but bears will rip those apart in less than a minute.”

Murray said garbage carts should be kept in a garage or shed when not out for collection. If that isn’t possible, garbage can be taken to community bear-resistant dumpsters, located at Max Turyk Community Centre, Fernie Community Centre, Fernie Memorial Arena, and City Hall, free of charge.

“The end result will be a cleaner and safer community for you, your family, your kids, your pets and our wildlife,” noted Murray. “We’ve chosen to live in wildlife habitat, so it’s our responsibility to make sure we’re not baiting bears into our backyards, jeopardizing our own safety and the safety of the entire community.”

MORE: Wildlife Safety and Education (WildSafeBC)

Bear Spray Workshop hosted by WildSafeBC in 2019 prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Supplied by WildSafeBC Elk Valley)

 

*** Story by Josiah Spyker ***