Black bear and grizzly bear sightings over the weekend on trails at Fernie Alpine Resort have prompted a warning from WildSafeBC.
Kathy Murray, WildSafeBC community coordinator said that a black bear with cubs was spotted on the Boom Trail by the base of the Boomerang chairlift.
“Females can be especially defensive when they’ve got their cubs around. If you see even a cub on its own or a female with cubs, stop, stay calm and back away slowly. That will give the bear the message that you don’t mean any harm,” said Murray. “Don’t turn around and run because that could provoke the chase instinct.”
Trail users in the area also reported seeing a grizzly bear on the Double Creek Trail, adjacent to the Silk Trail.
Murray said with bears waking up from hibernation, sightings on trails and in town are likely to increase.
“With temperatures warming up and the snow melting, we can expect bears to make their way to the valley bottom any time soon. We’re just reminding people to bear-proof their properties. Make sure you keep all garbage indoors between collection days and bring in bird feeders or anything else that could attract bears,” explained Murray.
As more people are staying at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it presents some unique challenges with accumulated garbage.
“With parents working from home and kids home from school, there’s likely to be more access garbage in the household. If there’s any access garbage, when you’re making your weekly trip to the supermarket, maybe stop by the transfer station and drop off your garbage instead of keeping on your back yard or under the deck, where it’s accessible to wildlife,” said Murray.
Murray said that when people live in close proximity to wildlife, such as in the Elk Valley, people should expect the occasional run-in with wild animals and to their part to keep any attractants away from where animals can get at them.