Fish and Wildlife officers attempting to capture young grizzly bear in Canmore

Provincial wildlife officials are attempting to capture a juvenile grizzly bear hanging around Canmore’s Benchlands neighbourhood after a person was charged Wednesday.

“However there was no contact made so we’re out here setting traps and trying to do our best to move the bear out of the area,” said Aaron Szott, an officer with Fish and Wildlife.

He said in its brief known history, the bear has generally been tolerant of people. It’s believed to be about three years old and on its own for the first time.

Hilary Young with habitat conservation group Yellowstone to Yukon said a late spring at higher elevations has led to a surprising number of bears in the congested valley floor.

“Alberta Parks suspects at least nine grizzly bears in and around (Canmore) right now based on collar data and reports, and they’re teasing apart which bear is where,” Young said, citing conversations with provincial officials

“There’s a lot more food in the valley than there are on the slopes, so they’re being attracted into valleys adjacent to the towns right now because they’re food stressed,” said Young.

A section of the Nordic Centre has also been closed because of bear activity.

If the young grizzly is caught in the large barrel trap, its physical condition will be evaluated and then decisions will be made about the bear’s future.

While the province hasn’t said what will happen, the most likely outcome is a relatively short distance relocation which will allow the bear to come back into familiar surroundings, hopefully having learned that people are trouble.

Young said a fresh conversation is needed on the mix of development and wildlife in the Bow Valley.

“If we don’t change the way we manage the developed foot print and recreation in the valley, the risk of human wildlife conflict is just going to keep increasing,” said Young.

People using Canmore trails are reminded to carry bear spray, keep dogs on leashes, make lots of noise and stay aware of their surroundings.

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