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Bears spotted in Canmore neighbourhood prompt garbage disposal reminder

A number of bears have been seen roaming around the Canmore neighbourhood Peaks of Grassi the past few days. It’s a safety concern for humans, but also for the bears.

Maegan Carney, who has has lived in Canmore and that community for 15 years, spotted a black bear in her backyard and can still see the tracks.

“We saw the bear tracks coming down between the houses and then we saw tracks going onto this balcony. I think he was checking out the barbecue…you can see that it’s much more round,” Carney said.

No matter how prepared you are, coming face to face with a bear while walking out your door to take out the garbage always catches a person off guard.

“I mean, it scares the pants out of everyone, right?

“But at the other end of the spectrum, I have bear spray in the house, so I know that I’m going to bring my bear spray if I’m leaving the house,” Carney said.

“If I’m walking to the garbage, I don’t usually think about it though. So you know, you get a wake up call.”

Bow Valley WildStart program director, Nick De Ruyter, is reminding Albertans to dispose of garbage properly.

“People need to take responsibility for their own actions and not leave garbage in their backyards, not leave it in their garage with their garage door open. Keep your barbecues clean, don’t have any bird feeders out — there is a bird feeder bylaw here, so between April 1 and November 30,” De Ruyter said.

Watch below (April 12): WildSmart program director Nick de Ruyter joins Global News Morning Calgary to discuss Canmore’s Bear Day and bear safety tips, now that bears are emerging from their winter dens.

De Ruyter, a bear educational expert, said there has been several bear sightings around town already this spring because bears are just coming out of hibernation, looking for an easy meal that people should not be providing.

“Up high, there’s still snow in the alpine, there’s not much food available, so they’re (bears) going to go for the easy options down in the valley bottoms in and around town,” De Ruyter said.

“They’ll follow their noses if they smell attractants… possibly things like garbage recycling or other food sources.”

Feeding the bears, even indirectly, puts the bears lives at risk as well. If they roam a community too often, eventually officials will remove them. For Carney, that’s a big worry for residents who love bears.

“That’s probably more of a greater worry in this neighbourhood than being afraid of the bears because literally, if we know that that bear is being attracted to our area, it’s just a matter of time before it gets removed.

“It just takes one time for the bear to get acculturated to human food.”

“I’ve never seen tracks this early (in the year),” Carney added.

Residents and officials want to avoid attracting bears to town or to the city in the first place. But, if you do spot a bear, experts say to make noise so it doesn’t get startled and knows you’re there, then contact wildlife officials.

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