Bear Report - May 24, 2019

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(Banff National Park East Gate to Bow Valley Provincial Park)
For the period: May 17 to May 24, 2019


There continue to be reports of bears (mostly black bears) throughout the Bow Valley, on both sides of the valley and in and around residential areas. Remember to keep your yard free of wildlife attractants such as garbage, recycling, bird-feeders, pet food and fruit bearing trees and shrubs. A fed bear is a dead bear so DO NOT FEED THEM! The bear warning in the vicinity of the Canmore Nordic Centre on the south side of the valley is still in effect due to a black bear sow with cubs frequenting the area.

Grizzly bear activity in Kananaskis Country remains steady and several females with cubs have been seen moving around the landscape. 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.

A cougar killed a deer near Quarry Lake this past week and a man walking his dog surprised the cougar while it was feeding on the deer near a bike path close to Quarry Lake. This serves as a reminder that there are prey species in this valley such as deer and elk (and their calves) and predators such as bears and cougars have been known to come after them, even in and around town. You can reduce the risk of wildlife 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 has been shown to be effective at deterring other wildlife such as cougars, wolves, coyotes and elk. Bear spray should be carried while walking on well travelled trails, including the trails in and around town.

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 along many of the well used trails along the river and in and around town. There were several incidents recently of people being charged by female elk on the Larch Island Trails in Canmore, although no contact was made. This has resulted in an elk warning for this area (see Warning below). Leave at least 30 meters of space between yourself and all elk and make sure you keep your dog on a leash as mother elk can become very defensive if they feel threatened. Remember that predators such as bears and cougars have been known to feed on elk calves in the valley so extra caution is advised at this time of year.


Aggressive Elk Warning on the Larch Islands Trails in Canmore.

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.

Area Closure - King Creek Day Use Area and King Creek due to an animal carcass 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.


Pick up a copy of the Summer 2019 edition of Where Canadian Rockies Guide featuring an article from WildSmart written by the Biosphere Institute’s very own Adam Mertens! You can view the digital version here and go to page 14 where you will find lots of great tips on how to be WildSmart as well as our list of Do’s and Don’ts to help keep you and the wildlife safe this summer!

In other paws-itive news, we received two donations of $100 after last week’s bear report! Many thanks and we really appreciate your support!