Did you know that bears in Kananaskis wear running shoes? I’ve got photographic proof.
The Conservation Officers and biologists from Alberta Parks caught one yesterday at the Nordic Centre in Canmore during Bear Day. They used one of those huge drum traps to capture it, then they tranquilized the bear, measured its size and weight, took a DNA sample, a blood sample and more in an effort to get a biological profile. Then they tagged it; males get tagged in the left ear, females in the right ear, because the ladies are always right.
After the bear trapping demonstration we went inside to hear wildlife biologist and bear-human conflict specialist, Jay Honeyman deliver an entertaining and informative talk about bear safety. He said grizzlies are a protected species in Alberta. They travel great distances looking for a place to call home.
You might remember the one that was the subject of a bear intervention (you can see the video on my YouTube channel) near the Texas Gate in West Bragg Creek, Kananaskis in 2014. That bear came from Fortress Mountain, spent a few weeks in Bragg Creek, continued on to the Tsuu T’ina Nation, Priddis and Millarville, then was tracked by radio collar to Okotoks where its collar fell off. Jay had hints on how to deal with a bear encounter – too complicated to explain here. Read about wildlife encounters here.
That’s why you should go and get informed. Jay has been to Bragg Creek and Redwood Meadows many times to talk about living with wildlife. The Redwood group have been very busy developing a society and rewriting the Bear Hazard Assessment report for our area. You can also find a load of info on the Bow Valley WildSmart web site here:http://www.wildsmart.ca/. They also have a Facebook page and a Twitter account. They publish a weekly bear report.
After the talk we went outside for a bear spray demonstration. Do you know that in 98% of cases where bear spray is used in a conflict situation, no one gets hurt. Attendees got to try their hand at zapping a wooden bear target.
Beside all that, there was a large room of exhibits; skins, skulls, scat, moulds of footprints of bears, cougars, wolves, elk and moose. There were posters and pamphlets, photos and videos.
Alberta Parks does this outreach to help people learn about living with wildlife. This was the first time it was held at the Nordic Centre. 300 people came to either the morning or afternoon session. Judging by the success of this, hopefully we will see the bear in sneakers again.