EVBA busy reporting cougar and bear sightings
Elk Valley Bear Aware (EVBA) has been busier than usual the past week reporting cougar and bear sightings in and around valley communities.
Today, Friday, August 14, EVBA has warned the public about a mountain biker surprising a bear at close range on Uprooted Trail in Fernie and a cougar sighting in Sparwood.
“A mountain biker was riding up uprooted trail and surprised a bear at close range as he came around the berm. The bear ran off a short distance then stood up on it’s hind legs to get a better look and/or scent. This is normal behaviour as bears are curious by nature. Remember to make noise to warn bears of your presence and avoid surprise encounters,” EVBA stated on its website.
A cougar was sighted August 13 on the trail between FJ Mitchell Elementary School and Matevic Road in Sparwood.
EVBA also reported yesterday that Fairy Creek Trail is closed until further notice due to cougar activity, with cougar sightings reported one km up the trail at 11 a.m.
“Cougars are wide ranging animals and may show up in urban settings from time to time. If they are passing through it is important they do not find food that may encourage them to stay. Many urban incidents occur with young cougars that have not yet learned how to hunt effectively or older animals that can no longer hunt in the wilds,” EVBA outlined.
Cougar live in your area
– Feed pets indoors and keep pets indoors, especially at night. Cats and small dogs that are left to free-range, hunt small birds and rodents and, in turn, become prey themselves.
– Never feed deer or other possible prey species for cougars. While deer may be pleasant to watch, they can attract large predators such as cougars into residential neighborhoods. As well, urban deer present their own set of problems to you and your neighbors.
– Cougars are most active during the period from dusk until dawn.
If you encounter a cougar
– STAY CALM, DO NOT RUN, MAINTAIN EYE CONTACT
– Pick up small children and small pets
– Let the cougar know you are human-NOT prey
– Make yourself as large and as mean as possible
– Use your voice in a loud and assertive manner
– Back away slowly. Never turn your back on wildlife
– If the cougar attacks, fight back with everything that you’ve got; it is a predatory attack.
Go to www.wildsafebc.com for more information.
Report human/wildlife conflict to 1-877-952-7277 or #7277 on cell.