A fed bear can be a dead bear
Wardens are investigating a series of incidents involving people feeding bears in Kootenay National Park.
Parks Canada says there’s some evidence, including photos, to suggest bears are being fed along Highway 93 South. The maximum penalty for feeding wildlife is $25,000 under Canada’s National Parks Act.
“Don’t touch, entice, feed, or harass wildlife. It can be dangerous for people and bears. Not only is it a big no-no, it can net you a fine as well,” said Omar McDadi, a spokesman for Kootenay National Park.
“If bears are fed or food is left out, it can lead to bears associating food with humans and looking to return as a reward. A fed bear is a dead bear and we definitely discourage those kinds of outcomes.”
Parks Canada has put a warning in place for the Olive Lake area where black bears and grizzly bears are feeding on vegetation, including dandelions, but say there are continued bear sightings along the entire highway.
“We’re recommending visitors use extra caution while travelling and stopping in the area, specifically due to a grizzly and several black bears seen foraging on natural foods,” McDadi said.
“The area is teeming with wildlife. It’s been pretty incredible. Every day people are seeing a lot of bears.”
McDadi said Parks asks people to drive with care and obey all speed limits on roads through the mountain parks, and consider not pulling over to view wildlife in order to give them space.
“Highway 93South is a busy highway, especially in the summer. Please drive vigilantly and with strong awareness that animals such as bears and wolves are active in and around the highway,” he said.
“If you must stop, please give animals space.”
McDadi said wild animals are less likely to be disturbed if people remain in their vehicles, and at least 100 metres from bears and 30 metres from other large animals.
“If the animal is changing its behaviour because of your presence, you’re too close,” he said.
If anyone sees bears being fed or approached, call Parks Canada at 403-762-1470.
Meanwhile, a black bear cub was found dead in the westbound lane of the Trans-Canada Highway near the entrance to Yoho Ranch, about four kilometres west of the village of Field on Friday (June 1).
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