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Crowsnest Pass program reminds Albertans to be respectful of bears


Bear season is here and the Crowsnest Pass BearSmart Association is reminding Albertans to admire the animals from a distance.

“Usually the bears end up paying the price in the end for people who either don’t have the knowledge or respect to give them the space that they need to just go about their business,” said Christy Pool, president of Crowsnest Pass BearSmart.

Pool said as the weather has warmed up,  there have already been sightings.

“Typically the males come out first, so they hit the areas that are greening up and where they can find bugs and fresh fruits and things like that,” she said.

“The females will come out later, but they tend to stay in longer, especially if they have cubs.”

Read more: Overstuffed garbage bins in Alberta parks becoming dangerous for animals, visitors

Pool added there have been more reported interactions with bears and people in the last year as many venture to the mountains to enjoy some physically-distanced activities as COVID-19 restrictions remain in place.

“When you are doing those activities, you are really getting now into the bears’ backyard, and so they need to be more diligent and more respectful of those areas,” she said.

Read more: Black bear euthanized at Waterton Lakes National Park for ‘excessive level of habituation’: Parks Canada

One of the biggest attractions in areas where both bears and people go is garbage bins. Crowsnest Pass mayor Blair Painter said he was thrilled to receive a $20,000 grant from the Alberta Beverage Container Recycling Corporation to add six additional bear-proof bins.

Bear proof bin

A bear proof bin in the Crowsnest Pass

Municipality of Crowsnest Pass

Painter said they will help keep both visitors and bears safe.

“Once a bear becomes used to eating human food and knowing how easy it is to get, they end up being put down because they become a danger to the public, and that’s something we don’t want to see,” he said.

Painter also said that while the bins are a good start, people need to actually use them.

“Whatever you pack in, pack out,” he said. “We do have a multitude of these bins throughout our community, and please take your trash and deposit them in the appropriate receptacle.”

Painter said its’s the best way to ensure both humans and bears stay safe this summer.