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Black bear in Peaks of Grassi neighbourhood causing concerns

CANMORE – If local residents continue to leave their garbage outside, it could be bad news for at least one black bear in Canmore.
Peaks Black Bear
A large male black bear walks past a bear trap in the Peaks of Grassi neighbourhood in Canmore on Aug. 25, 2018. Alberta Fish and Wildlife captured the bear a second time in on May 2 and decided the bear was a risk to public safety and killed it instead of relocating it for a second time.

CANMORE – If local residents continue to leave their garbage outside, it could be bad news for at least one black bear in Canmore.

After the recent sightings of three black bears over the weekend in Peaks of Grassi, Stewart Creek and the Canmore Nordic Centre, Fish and Wildlife Officer Matthew Visentin is reminding residents to be bear aware and bear smart as one particular medium-sized black bear is becoming habituated.

"The bear is accessing garbage bags and household goods, so it is very important for residents in the area are not putting any unnatural [attractants]," Visentin said, referring specifically to the Peaks of Grassi neighbourhood.

"Those are the kind of issues we are seeing with this bear because he is being rewarded with food from garbage bags and that kind of thing, so he is getting an easy meal which we don't want."

Of the three bears spotted, two were medium-sized and tagged, one with an orange tag and one with a red tag – both presumed males, and the third had a "vague description," but was reported as small and appeared to be only passing through by the Nordic Centre, not causing "any problems."

Meanwhile the black bear that was noted hanging around Lawrence Grassi Ridge has been getting into  garbage and recycling attractants, which means the bear was "rewarded with non-natural food sources."

"It's not aggressive, but it is acting indifferently – it doesn't have a lot of fear of humans, so that is definitely concerning," Visentin said.

"We haven't taken any action ... likely if we get an opportunity we would immobilize it, tranquilize it and move it from the residential areas, so it'll reduce the risk of conflict in town."'

The Fish and Wildlife officer said he has not received reports of the bear being seen in the neighbourhood since Sunday (April 28), potentially crediting their presence reminding members of the community to be "bear aware and bear smart with their properties and attractants."

"Worst case scenario is the bear becomes extremely habituated to human food sources and that bear would have to be euthanized because of either aggressive behaviour, or safety risks," Visentin said.

"I'm sure that is the last option anyone wants to have, but ultimately if residents are not doing their due diligence that is a very realistic result."

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