Grizzly bears making themselves at home in Fernie and other Elk Valley towns. People walking on trails close to town are being stalked by grizzly bears.
These bears have been accessing garbage left outdoors, and homeowners have trees loaded with apples and won’t pick the apples however want the bear in the yard dealt with!
We choose to live here and by doing so are responsible for making sure we are making every effort to mitigate human/wildlife conflict. Fernie has new people and bears in town every year, so we long-timers who have a better tolerance and understanding of wildlife need to lead by example and take it upon ourselves to work with our new neighbours and visitors to make them “Bear Aware” and educate about the resources we have. If you are new to bear country, it’s up to you to learn about living with wildlife.
For example, there is a volunteer group that will pick apples for those that are unable; contact Rachel Dortman, tel: 250-423-8665. Wildsight has an apple capture program with equipment to lend; fruit picking, tree pruning, apple presses, dehydrators and sauce makers. Contact 250-423-3322
Our districts are taking measures to enable residents to dispose of garbage responsibly and many businesses are upgrading to bear resistant dumpsters. The WildSafeBC Junior Ranger program will be presented to over 1500 students in the Elk Valley and South Country and the Junior Rangers will be asked to help their families bear-proof their home and teachers have been asked to follow up.
We have made a lot of progress the last few years and thank you to everyone who has made an effort to bear proof their property–we all have to work together. Between WildSafeBC, the Conservation Officer Service, local bylaw officers, volunteers, and community groups we unfortunately don’t have the resources to address all potential human/wildlife conflict situations.
Thank you for helping spread the word that garbage, fruit trees, birdseed and pet food all attract bears to your property making it more likely for the bear to break into your home creating a safety risk for your family and a death sentence for the bear.
Here are the recent community bear reports:
Bears reported on Elkview Drive, 9th avenue in the Annex, at the East end of 1st avenue by the schools, in the park behind West Fernie and on Stove Trail in Mt Fernie Provincial Park.
Bear and cubs reported in the campground and by the CP rail bunkhouse.
Grizzly bear sightings reported on Needles Crescent by the bus stop, Bear Cub park on Galbraith drive and a walker on Cougar trail reported a grizzly bear walking towards him as he backed away. Residents have been reported taking photos of grizzly bears sat on their front lawns.
A relocated collared grizzly bear from Montana was reported accessing apple trees and livestock feed.