Bear killed in provincial park
A food-conditioned black bear that tore apart a large garbage bag near a horse trailer and which nearly entered a house in Bow Valley Provincial Park was destroyed by conservation officers, Monday (Sept. 3).
According to Conservation Officer Arian Spiteri, on Sunday, the bear was spotted wandering around the Bow Valley Provincial Park maintenance compound and appeared to be looking for food. The compound houses several park employees.
“One resident had their door open and the bear almost walked in the door. Another resident yelled at the bear and it backed off,” Spiteri said.
While officers suspected the bear had been food conditioned prior to visiting the compound, since the bear wasn’t seen getting into food, it was left alone and moved on without finding a meal.
“This was the bear’s first time moving through the compound. It had experience going through garbage,” said Spiteri.
However, the next day, nearly two kilometres away, south of the campground and the Trans-Canada Highway, the same dark brown-coloured black bear was seen eating out of a garbage bag containing human food in a horse trailer. The bear, a young 72 pound male, was reluctant to leave the site.
“At that point, with that type of behaviour, we confirmed our suspicions the bear was food conditioned and a decision was made that it had to be destroyed,” Spiteri said.
Charges will be laid in the incident, which is still under investigation. Conservation officers are extremely frustrated with the bear death and the amount of food attractants left out in Kananaskis Country. Officers and volunteers spend a great deal of time educating the public about keeping bears away from human food, however, the incidents continue to pile up.
Officers also laid more than 10 charges for animal attractants left at campsites over the weekend, as there were several incidents of campers not securing food. Each resulted in a $172 fine for failure to leave parkland in a satisfactory condition. One family complained they shouldn’t have gotten a ticket because “they put away the food every other time,” Spiteri said.
“This is bear habitat. They will take opportunities where others make mistakes,” Spiteri said. “But we see this again and again, despite having signs posted about how to camp smart in bear country.
“We want to remind people the importance of keeping animal attractants secure. That includes garbage, recyclables and food,” Spiteri said.
Bow Valley Wildsmart program director Kim Titchener said visitation numbers are up in Kananaskis Country.
“It goes to show you can never take for granted the importance of keeping that message out there. Not only are we seeing phenomenal numbers of people, we have lots of new people coming to the park.
“Not everyone knows you shouldn’t feed a bear. Not everyone knows you can’t leave a cooler out and go for a hike. We need to do more,” Titchener said.
This isn’t the first time a food conditioned bear has been destroyed in the area. Another food-conditioned bear was killed at Camp Chief Hector last year.
In order to post comments on our web site, you must validate your email address. An email was sent to you when you registered that included an activation link. If you have not yet done so, please click on the link to activate your account.
If you did not receive your activation email, please click here to have it resent.