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As temperature drops, days become shorter, natural food becomes scarce and snow starts to fall, bears move on to find a den for the winter. Hibernation is a way for bears to conserve energy in the winter when food is in low supply. Most black bears and grizzly bears den for four to six months. However, bears do not go into true hibernation because their body temperature and metabolic rate do not decrease as much as in other hibernating species and they may wake up relatively easily during their winter sleep.

In order to survive without eating, bears must slow down their physiological systems and live off their fat reserves. They actually enter a state of dormancy where: their heart rate drops from 40-70 beats per minute to 8-12 beats per minute, their metabolism slows down by half and their body temperatures by drop by 3-7 degrees Celsius.

While bears do not eat or drink during this time, they do not urinate or defecate either. Such a build-up of urea would cause humans to die. Bears have a unique ability to recycle the build-up or urea, using it to manufacture new proteins. During hibernation, the bear’s body essentially enters a mode of conservation, efficiency and recycling.
grinder_emerging
The WildSafeBC program will be going into hibernation until the spring. WildSafeBC is grateful for the generous support the program receives from sponsors, partners and volunteers. Thanks to our sponsors: Ministry of Environment, Columbia Basin Trust, British Columbia Conservation Foundation, the City of Fernie, the District of Elkford and the R.D.E.K. Community partners have provided invaluable support and guidance. Thank you to: the Conservation Officer Service, the Free Press, Elk Valley Herald, The Drive 99.1, Wildsight, Fernie Trails Alliance, Tourism Fernie, Fernie Alpine Resort, Island Lake Lodge, and the Fernie Chamber of Commerce. Finally, thank you to our volunteers and all the residents who made an effort this season to remove wildlife attractants from their properties. Let’s keep wildlife wild and our community safe!

A dog was attacked by a cougar on Michel Creek Road a few days ago and cougar sightings have been reported at the Elk Valley Mobile Home Park, Pine Avenue and on Tamarack Street in Sparwood.

Cougar Safety tips
Cougars are wide ranging animals and may show up in urban settings from time to time. If they are passing through it is important they do not find food that may encourage them to stay. Many urban incidents occur with young cougars that have not yet learned how to hunt effectively or older animals that can no longer hunt in the wilds.
 Feed pets indoors and keep pets indoors, especially at night. Cats and small dogs that are left to free-range, hunt small birds and rodents and, in turn, become prey themselves.
 Bird feeders can attract cougars and bears. Seeds on the ground can accumulate, attracting rodents and, in turn, attracting cougars and other predators that feed on the rodents.
 Never feed deer or other possible prey species for cougars. While deer may be pleasant to watch, they can attract large predators such as cougars into residential neighborhoods. As well, urban deer present their own set of problems to you and your neighbors.
 Deer are one of the cougar’s primary food sources. If deer are abundant in an area, especially a wintering area, then there is a good possibility to find cougars using the same area.
 Cougars are most active during the period from dusk until dawn and this period requires extra vigilance by hikers while in cougar country.

If you encounter a Cougar:
 STAY CALM, DO NOT RUN, MAINTAIN EYE CONTACT
 Pick up small children and small pets
 Let the Cougar know you are human-NOT prey
 Make yourself as large and as mean as possible
 Use your voice in a loud and assertive manner
 Back away slowly. Never turn your back on wildlife
 If the Cougar attacks, fight back with everything that you’ve got, it is a predatory attack
cougar kit by meg2
Never feed or approach wildlife and report cougar sightings and cougar kills to the 24 hour Conservation Officer Hotline on 1-877-952-7277.

Bears sightings reported behind the Causeway Bay Hotel, Matevic Road, Hemlock Road, Mountain Ash Crescent, White Birch Crescent, Engleman Spruce Drive and a cougar was seen by Lodge Pole mobile home park over the weekend.
bear sniffing garbage can
For information on preventing human/wildlife conflict go to http://www.wildsafebc.com

Grizzly bears have been seen just west of Fernie. Bears will defend three things, food, cubs and their space. Leaving garbage accessible to bears in a backyard, under a carport, on the front porch or in an open dumpster can lead to human/wildlife conflict. Do you really want to get between a bear and a food source (garbage)? Expect bears to be around for another few weeks so please lock up garbage and all other attractants and give bears a chance to return to the wilderness to den for the winter.
bear in city bin
Wildlife sightings

Fernie
A grizzly sow and two cubs were seen on a property on highway 3 a few kilometres west of Fernie and on Ben Emmet trail in Mt Fernie Provincial Park. Black bear sightings reported on the dike trail behind Mt Minton in Mountainview and on the dike trail in the Annex.

Sparwood
Bear sightings reported behind the Causeway Bay hotel, Matevic Road and Hemlock Road.

The safest wildlife encounter is one prevented. Lock up your garbage and bears will move on. For more information on wildlife safety, go to http://www.wildsafebc.com.

I had the pleasure of spending the morning delivering the WildSafeBC program in French to the Ecole Sophie Morigeau students in Fernie. Thanks to all the kids and the teachers for their enthusiasm, knowledge and desire to prevent human/conflict in our community. Parents, expect the kids to be on the lookout for wildlife attractants on your property and in the neighborhood. Bear proofing your property will result in less wildlife in town, increased public safety, less potential for human/wildlife conflict and a subsequent reduction in the number of bears destroyed.

Thank you for your cooperation.french school

There have been fewer bear sightings in Fernie and Elkford this fall. Thank you to everyone who is making efforts to bear proof their properties. In Fernie we have noticed that putting garbage out on the curb the night before collection is no longer common practice. A handful of residences were found to have garbage out at night during 2 night patrols.

The District of Elkford has acquired 45 residential bear resistant containers available to households who have no garage or shed to secure garbage between collection days and all the communal dumpsters have been retrofitted with metal latches. This has resulted in less wildlife in the community, increased public safety, decreased potential for human/wildlife conflict and a subsequent reduction in the number of bears destroyed.

Thank you to a group of dedicated volunteers in Sparwood who are committed to engaging their families, neighbours and friends in the importance of securing garbage, picking fruit trees and working together to prevent human/wildlife conflict and the needless destruction of bears.

Recent wildlife sightings
Fernie
Grizzly and black bear sightings reported on Highline Drive and Timberline Crescent at F.A.R.
Sparwood
Bears reported behind the Causeway Bay Hotel and by the store in Sparwood Heights.
bear family from fernie
For more information on preventing human/wildlife conflict go to http://www.wildsafebc.com

A hunter was attacked and injured by a grizzly bear Sunday morning in Morrissey. It is unknown what provoked the attack.

Wildlife Sightings

Fernie
Bear sightings reported by the Coal Creek bridge and the Coal Creek boat launch. A cougar was seen on Ridgemont Crescent.

Sparwood
Bear sightings reported on Alpine Way and Hemlock road

Elkford
Bear sightings reported on Balmer Crescent

Jaffray
A grizzly bear and cubs was reported on a property on Hilderbrent road.

The Safest Wildlife Encounter is One Prevented

Avoid surprise encounters: Call out, clap your hands, sing or talk loudly
Look for signs of wildlife: Tracks, droppings, diggings, claw-marked trees, torn-up logs, overturned rocks and food caches.
Travel smart: Stay in groups, stay on marked trails and travel in daylight.
Do not litter: Pack it in, pack it out.
Carry bear spray: Keep it accessible and know how to use it as your last best defense.
Dog owners: keep your dogs under control. They may provoke defensive behavior in wildlife.
Cyclists: speed and quietness put you at risk for sudden encounters. Slow down and make noise.

Never Approach or Feed Wildlife

For more information on wildlife safety go to http://www.wildsafebc.com

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