A local wildlife group is warning Fernie residents after a large black bear was spotted near an elementary school.
Kathy Murray with Wildsafe BC Elk Valley says the bear was seen roaming near Isabella Dicken Elementary last week.
She says it was spotted again over the weekend around the downtown area.
“Late on Saturday, at about 11:30 at night, a large black bear was seen in various locations along 2nd, 3rd and 4th Avenue. So that’s right in downtown Fernie,” Murray says. “We’re hopefully at the stage to prevent that this bear has become habituated and food conditioned.”
Murray says she’s unsure if it has become habituated to garbage.
“Its been around for a little while. We’re really hoping that it moves on to the wilderness soon, as there’s plenty of natural food” Murray says. “If its hanging around town, its definitely attracted to something, so if you don’t want a bear in your backyard or under your car port, just make sure you remove any attractants.”
Murray reminds residents to store garbage or other attractants in areas a bear cannot reach.
She says anyone walking around town late at night should also stay in well-lit areas to avoid encounters.
Murray adds there’s been reports of grizzlies on various trails around the community, including a cub reported on Fairy Creek Trail without its mother and an adult grizzly in the Ridgemont area.
She adds you should expect a bear encounter on area trails if you plan on hiking or mountain biking in the early morning or late evening.
(Photo of black bear in garbage courtesy of WildSafe BC Elk Valley.)
– WildSafe BC Elk Valley Spokesperson, Kathy Murray
– Jeff Johnson