Fall BearSmart Update

As another autumn draws to an end, so too does the bear season. With this in mind, we thought it would be a good time to review and remind people about the importance of the Alberta BearSmart program. As some of you may know, the aim of Alberta BearSmart is to help people finds ways to reduce conflict with bears. We want Albertans to enjoy living, working, and recreating in this beautiful landscape, while staying safe and ensuring the survival of our grizzly and black bears.

A first stop for accessing this information can be by visiting the Alberta BearSmart website at http://aep.alberta.ca/recreation-public-use/alberta-bear-smart/default.aspx This has a great deal of information on our bear species, what attractants are and how to manage them, how to prevent bear encounters and what to do if you see a bear, and general tips on how you can be BearSmart.

You can also request or attend a local BearSmart community event and bear spray demonstrations, which includes conversations with local Alberta Environment and Parks staff or Fish and Wildlife officers. These are valuable opportunities to connect, share and learn!

This year, across the Lower Peace Region, from March to July staff at Alberta Environment and Parks held 10 separate events with messaging reaching over 4000 people! This included school presentations to community trade shows, guest speaking, and special presentations on how to use bear spray.

While this fall has seemed to fast track its way right into winter, it is important to remember that bears are still active until late October and into early November. During this time they are on a feeding frenzy, trying to gain as much weight as possible to make it through the coming winter months. It is our responsibility to be extra vigilant when working, recreating, or living in bear country, where a few BearSmart steps can go a long way to helping people stay safe and keep bears alive:

• Securely store your garbage (e.g., use bear-proof bins where possible), and only put garbage out the morning of pick up – the same goes for recycling!
• Pick up any fallen or rotting fruit from trees and bushes and securely dispose of.
• Remove bird seed for now, and only put out during the winter months when bears are hibernating (October 31-April 1)
• Regularly aerate compost piles to reduce odours or consider indoor compost options
• Store pet food inside and bring in empty dishes after use
• When enjoying the outdoors, whether camping or hiking, make lots of noise, keep dogs on a leash, watch for signs of bears in the area (scat, tracks, diggings, rub trees, etc.), do not leave any garbage behind, and always carry bear spray and know how to use it (check out this video for tips: )

If you are interested in booking a fall (or spring) BearSmart session, please contact Courtney Hughes at courtney.hughes@gov.ab.ca

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