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Living with Bears in Bragg Creek

A bear was reported trying to break into a grain shed on the weekend in West Bragg Creek. The bear was unsuccessful. Please ensure attractants such as pet food and livestock feed are adequately secured from bears and other wildlife. For more information go to http://aep.alberta.ca/recreation-public-use/alberta-bear-smart/bears-agricultural-producers.aspx. If you have a public safety related wildlife concern, please call the Report a Poacher line at 1 800 642 3800.

Bears seldom cause serious trouble. Authorities have a scale from low to extreme that they use to determine how they handle bears. There are females with cubs living in territories all along the foothills. It's only when bears become habituated to humans and food dependant on them that they become a problem. In a case like the one above, if a bear is unsuccessful at breaking into a food source, they move on. That's why bear bins are so successful.

In Redwood Meadows they have a Robo-call system to alert residents in the event of potential trouble when a bear, cougar or coyote is hanging around. In West Bragg Creek, we have a neighbourhood watch email/phone contact list for our street used to spread the word of sightings. A neighbour reported bear scat on their driveway last weekend - likely the bear that tried to break into the grain shed mentioned above. These things work quite well, but people are often hesitant to say that bears have found something interesting on their property. Wildlife officers are very careful not to point fingers as they rely on reports to monitor wildlife activity. It’s in our best interest to do the same. Here in the foothills we live with wildlife. The best way to ensure the safety of wildlife and humans is awareness.

The Townsite of Redwood Meadows has just updated a 2010 report titled, “Bear Hazard Assessment Update for the Greater Bragg Creek Area of Southern Alberta”. It’s a great read with lots of information about bears and their lifestyle and us and our lifestyle. You can find it here.

The report says that Greater Bragg Creek will grow from about 3,000 residents to 7,000 in 20-30 years according to Rocky View. The province has a recovery plan for grizzly bears. So the likelihood of increased human-bear conflicts is pretty good. The report says, “For the period between 1999 and 2015, 298 public safety-related human-bear conflicts were compiled, 11 of which involved grizzly bears. A substantial number of these conflicts (72%) involved bears accessing unsecured attractants.”

“An assessment was made of the conflict level of each reported occurrence in order to identify the seriousness of the various conflicts in terms of public safety and property damage. The majority of reported conflicts were categorized as Moderate; primarily the result of bears accessing non-natural attractants in people’s property. Low level conflicts made up the next highest proportion of the conflicts. High and Very High categories were relatively low in frequency and involved bear breaking into structures or killing livestock. There were no Extreme conflict category (Human Injury) conflicts.”

Bear Hazard Assessment Update for the Greater Bragg Creek Area of Southern Alberta, 2016

Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan Survey

A recovery plan is developed after a species is provincially listed as Endangered or Threatened in the regulations under the Alberta Wildlife Act. A recovery plan includes a goal, specific objectives, strategies, and actions with associated timelines required for recovery of the particular threatened or endangered species.

An online survey and full draft of the plan is available here:  http://aep.alberta.ca/about-us/public-engagement/surveys/default.aspx