Grizzly bear caught near Okotoks
Foothills: Animal seen north of town for several days
By: Don Patterson
| Posted: Wednesday, Aug 07, 2013 03:33 pm
A grizzly bear seen feasting on berries and wandering near homes north of Okotoks has been caught by Alberta Fish and Wildlife officials.
Brendan Cox, spokesperson for the Alberta justice and solicitor general office, said a bear was caught by fish and wildlife officers in the area on the morning of Aug. 7.
The grizzly was seen west of the Okotoks Agricultural Society grounds for several days before it was caught.
He said it's not common for bears to be found as far east as Okotoks.
“He was far from grizzly habitat and, of course, around a heavily populated area with a lot of subdivisions and acreages,” he said. “It is pretty uncommon and that's what we wanted to get the message out to let people know.”
Cox said the bear was between two to three years old and weighed between 125 and 175 pounds.
He said it appears the bear was sticking to natural food sources like cereal crops and berries in the area, but Fish and Wildlife officers didn't want it to get acclimatized to life in the area.
Officials haven't yet decided where the bear will be released, said Cox.
“They do take a lot of things into account when relocating a bear, such as its chance of survival,” he said. “They're going to want to try to find a place with some natural food sources for it and where it will have a good chance of surviving. It might be northwest of Cochrane, but they're still looking at that.”
According to Cox, anyone who comes across a bear should try to get indoors if the bear is further away. If it's close, he said people should make noise or yell, try to make themselves look larger and back away to give the bear space and time to leave the area.
Ali Hughes saw the bear on her property just north of Okotoks on Aug. 6. She said it was feasting on saskatoons and raspberries growing in the area.
“He came ambling through the woods and crossed over our yard,” she said.
Hughes was surprised to see a bear so far away from the mountains.
She said the grizzly largely ignored her family and dogs, who were in the house.
Her neighbour Davis Edels didn't see the animal, but it was seen on his property.
On the evening of Aug. 5, he was heading to the Dawgs game when he saw the blue and red lights of an RCMP vehicle. He was told the bear was in the area. As Edels and the RCMP were driving up the driveway, the bear crossed in front of the police cruiser.
“It crossed through our land and went on his way,” he said.
Edels was surprised to hear of a grizzly in the area, but he also knows wildlife frequent the area. He said a cougar took a small dog out of a penned area on his property a few years ago.
If anyone finds a grizzly bear or other threatening animal on their property, they should call Alberta Fish and Wildlife officers at 1-800-642-3800.
Okotoks RCMP Sgt. Donna Rorison said people can also contact RCMP, especially if the animals are seen in urban areas.
“If they're close to anything in town, absolutely we want to know about it,” she said.
Cougar spotted in Okotoks
Rorison said RCMP received a report of a cougar found near the Sheep River in Okotoks on Aug. 6 sometime around 2 p.m.
She said the cougar was seen near the southwest side of the bridge on Southridge Drive.
Rorison said RCMP responded, but weren't able to find the animal in the area.
“Our guys were out on foot in the area, but they didn't see anything other than some deer,” she said.
Rorison said the matter was handed over to Fish and Wildlife officers to handle.