With the warmer temperatures, the wildlife are coming down into the valley to feed and after multiple bear sightings throughout Kootenay National Park along Highway 93 South in the past several weeks, Parks Canada has issued a bear warning for the Olive Lake area and the truck area pull out along Highway 93 South in Kootenay National Park near Radium Hot Springs.
“There are still snowbound areas at higher elevation, so typically this time of year you find bears making a living at lower elevations,” Parks Canada Communications Officer Omar McDadi said. “A lot of things are greening up in the valley, and in particular there are dandelions.”
There have been multiple sightings of a grizzly bear in the area, as well as a family of black bears foraging on natural foods, including dandelions. The most recent sightings come from an area known as Dolly Varden, which lies about 40 km from Radium Hot Springs.
Parks Canada has also heard reports of people feeding the bears in this area. As feeding bears can cause bears to become conditioned to approaching humans for food, this only promotes further conflicts, which more often than not will result in a bear being destroyed. The family of black bears in particular are reported to have been recently fed by humans. The public is asked to report any sightings of people feeding bears by calling 1-888-WARDENS.
“The old saying is, ‘A fed bear is a dead bear,’” McDadi said. “Bears will associate food with humans, which is dangerous for bears and for people.”
Parks Canada recommends when out in the park to travel in groups if possible, keep your dogs on a leash, carry bear spray and know how to use it.
“We’re just reminding everyone to to be bear aware, to keep bears and people safe,” McDadi said. “Don’t approach bears, and please definitely do not feed bears.”
For more information, visit Parks Canada at pc.gc.ca.