Black bear
Photo by BGSmith

Bear warnings issued in Western Alberta as bears bulk up for winter

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As fall approaches, bears in Western Alberta are beginning to enter residential areas to search for food in preparation for their winter hibernation.

On August 18th, a black bear and her cubs were removed from Canmore after entering yards to eat apples from trees. While the bears were successfully relocated, John Paczkowski of Alberta Parks, told the Calgary Sun that being brought to another area reduces their odds of survival. “It does not bode well for those bears,” he said, noting that bears that are relocated to an unfamiliar habitat survive about 50 percent of the time.

Residents of Canmore are being asked to remove their apple trees, or at least to pick and store the fruit, so that it doesn’t tempt bears into residential areas. Tyler McClure is an education outreach coordinator with Wildsmart, an organization that attempts to prevent harmful interactions with wildlife. He says that the fruit from trees leads bears to enter human-populated areas, creating a harmful association. “It falls on the ground and starts to rot, and animals start to equate humans with food, that’s when we get into problems,” McClure told the CBC.

Paczkowski also believes that people need to phase out their apple trees. “The life of a bear isn’t worth having a pretty tree,” he told the Sun.

Cindy Thompson, a resident of Canmore, agrees that humans living in the area need to take steps to make sure that there are no bear attractants around their homes. “[The bears] were here first,” she told the CBC, “And so I’d just like to live here and get along with them.”