File photo

Wounded grizzly bear near Fernie never found

One month after a grizzly bear was wounded by authorities in an attempt to destroy it, the location of the bear remains unknown.

On June 28, residents at Fernie Alpine Resort were warned to stay in their homes as authorities dealt with a wounded grizzly bear. Information later surfaced explaining that two grizzly bears were attempting to gain entry into at least two homes at the resort, with the residents still inside.

Look back: Location of wounded grizzly unknown

Conservation Officer Jeff Piwek explained at the time that the grizzly bears appeared to be two siblings, approximately three years old, and showed no fear toward humans. He also said it’s not uncommon for siblings to stick together at that age and believed the bears were not necessarily emaciated (starving), but had become very comfortable around people in residential areas. There were no attractants noted by authorities in the surroundings areas.

“Conservation Officers and RCMP were forced to euthanize the bears however one is unaccounted for and believed injured with a gun shot wound,” said RCMP Corporal R. Wright on June 28.

The wounded bear was never found.

One month later on July 30, Piwek explained that when the bear was last seen, it was mobile with no obvious limitations. He believes the injury sustained was to a foot. Based on this, he said it would have a high likelihood of survival.

“The file is considered closed and we are not actively looking for the bear,” he explained in an email. “We have open lines of communication with the resort staff as well as nearby BC (Fernie Provincial) Park staff. Any reports of wildlife interactions are assessed for appropriate response.”

Since the grizzly bear was last seen, Piwek said the Conservation Officer Service hasn’t received any new information requiring further action.

He explained that it’s possible the bear has moved away from the area, but also could have stayed in the wilderness area near the resort.

“We encourage anyone who sees injured wildlife or wildlife exhibiting abnormal behavior to report it to RAPP, (at) 1-877-952-7277,” said Piwek.

Since June, Piwek said there have been issues in the Fernie area with a black bear accessing garbage. He explained that the attractants were secured and a trap was set, but no bear was captured. The bear in question, explained Piwek, did not have a strict travel pattern and was reported across a large area.

That being said, there have been no recent reports of human/wildlife conflict.



editor@thefreepress.ca

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