Park Place Lodge

As summer comes to a close, wildlife sightings remain frequent in and around the Fernie area. Even more so as food supplies dwindle and animals are preparing for the winter months. Recent bear sightings have included trail heads, Mt Fernie Provincial Park and the skate park in town. A cougar was also spotted near the Mount Fernie Provincial Park campground last Monday night. With these occurrences, now is a crucial time to take every precaution to ensure the safety of humans and animals alike.

bear safety

In recent sightings, garbage, birdfeeders, compost and fruit trees were found to have lured bears into town. Avoid unsecured garbage, unpicked fruit trees, bird feeders, bird seed on the ground, pet food, dirty BBQs and other attractions that may encourage wildlife in the area. Other steps of prevention include:

1. Avoid surprise encounters: call out, clap your hands, sing or talk loudly
2. Look for signs of wildlife: tracks, droppings, diggings, claw-marked trees, torn-up logs, over turned rocks and food caches
3. Travel smart: stay in groups, stay on marked trails and travel in daylight
4. Do not litter: pack it in, pack it out
5. Carry bear spray: keep it accessible and know how to use it as your last best defense
6. Dog owners: keep your dogs under control. They may provide defensive behavior in wildlife
7. Cyclists: speed and quietness put you at risk for sudden encounters. Slow down and make noise

**Never approach or feed wildlife**

bear with garbage

To learn more about bear aware and wildlife safety, visit the Wildsight Centre on 2nd ave this Saturday for the WildsafeBC/Wildsight Open House from 10:00am – 2:00pm. The day will offer hands on experience using inert bear spray, workshops on electric fencing, apple pressing, composting demo’s and food preservation. The Wildlife Safety Talk will be held at 1:15pm.

wildsafe open house

In the event of a bear encounter, there are some important tips to remember:

– STAY CALM
– DO NOT RUN
– Let the bear know you are human (arms out to the side)
– Use your voice in a calm, assertive manner
– Back away slowly and allot the bear an escape route
– Never turn your back on wildlife

If you encounter a cougar:

– STAY CALM
– DO NOT RUN
– MAINTAIN EYE CONTACT
– Let the cougar know you are human – NOT prey
– Make yourself as large and mean as possible
– Use your voice in a loud and assertive manner
– Back away slowly, never turn your back on wildlife
– If the cougar attacks, fight back with everything that you’ve got, it’s a predatory attack

bear safety

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