Bear Report - May 17, 2019

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(Banff National Park East Gate to Bow Valley Provincial Park)
For the period: May 10 to May 17, 2019


There continue to be reports of bears (mostly black bears) throughout the Bow Valley (on both sides of the valley), in and around Canmore in residential areas, and in the nearby MD of Bighorn hamlets. A black bear with two small cubs of year (COY), about the size of a domestic cat, have been seen in the vicinity of the Canmore Nordic Centre on the south side of the valley (see warning below). Grizzly bear activity in Kananaskis Country continues to increase and several females with cubs have been seen moving around the landscape looking for food. Mother bears can be extremely protective of their cubs so make sure to give them and their cubs lots of space, at least 100 meters. Make lots of noise in order to alert them of your presence, giving them time to move away.

Remember to keep your yard free of wildlife attractants such as garbage, recycling, bird-feeders, pet food and fruit bearing trees and shrubs. Once a bear gets access to these attractants, it will keep coming back looking for that food source and may even approach humans in search of food. This type of behaviour can be a public safety concern and often ends with the bear being relocated or destroyed.

At this time of year, bears in this area are often found in the valley bottoms eating foods like dandelions and grass. This increases their chance of encounters with people, especially with the busy long weekend coming up. If you plan on doing some camping, remember to keep your campsite clean and garbage free! Make sure that garbage and food are kept in vehicles or hard-sided campers while camping. If you are camping in the backcountry, please use the bear proof lockers and bear hangs (if provided), or properly hang your food and garbage in a bear bag from a tree.

Here is an example of a proper backcountry camp set-up

A reminder that it is elk calving season! This means that there are going to be some spotted fawns running around soon! It also means that we need to be very vigilant of mother elk and their calves who may be hiding in dense vegetation. Leave at least 30 meters of space between yourself and all elk. Make sure you keep your dog on a leash as mother elk can become very defensive if they feel threatened.

You can reduce the risk of bear encounters if you remain vigilant when recreating outdoors! Make lots of noise to alert animals of your presence, travel in groups, keep dogs on leash, be aware of your surroundings (look and listen for signs of wildlife such as tracks and scat), and carry bear spray in an easily accessible location and know how to use it. Bear spray should be carried while walking on well travelled trails, including the trails in and around town.


Bear Warning - All trails and area at the Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park from highway 742 to the meadow due to a black bear sow with cubs in the area.

*Bears are not only found in closure or warning areas. You should always remain alert while walking, hiking, running and biking, and remember that bears can be encountered anytime, anywhere!

Here is a list of some Annual Closures in Kananaskis Country.

A complete list of all warnings and closures is available here for anyone visiting the Bow Valley, Kananaskis Country and Alberta Parks.

A complete list of all warnings and closures is available here for Banff National Park.

For more information on areas in the Bow Valley frequented by bears at this time of year visit our human-bear conflict summary map.

The information above is based upon a compilation of bear information provided by government agencies and unconfirmed sightings reported by the public over the last week. It is not intended to be used as a real-time, complete record of where bears are in the valley.


We had a busy couple of weeks during Science Odyssey! Over 400 locals participated in our workshops related to wildlife biology, safety and awareness including children, students, families, residents and staff. Some of the places we visited were Bow Valley Parent Link, Canmore Nordic Centre, Canmore Collegiate High School, Ecole Notre-Dame des Monts, Elizabeth Rummel School, Canmore Community Daycare Society and Spring Creek. Thanks to all who participated!