So far this season, three black bears have been euthanized by Fish and Wildlife in Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo

Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Services have been forced to euthanize three black bears in the Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo area so far this season.

Luis Carlos Flores Aguilar, Communications Advisor, Justice and Solicitor General for the Government of Alberta, says Fish and Wildlife has received a relatively average number of calls in the area for services involving black bears.

Fish and Wildlife follows the Provincial Black Bear Response Guide to determine the appropriate bear response in the area, according to Aguilar.

The intervention guide is the result of a collaboration of biologists, law enforcement officers and problem wildlife specialists and is revised annually.

Several factors are used to determine an appropriate response to human-bear conflict.

This includes the animal’s age, sex and family status, the animal’s behavior, the location of the incident and its known conflict history.

Officers use the following age-based description for the black bear:

  • Lion cub:
  • Orphan Cub:
  • Young: A cub or yearling that accompanies the mother
  • Adult: > 12 months

Black bear behavior is based on five points.

  • Used to : The black bear shows little or no reaction to people, and the animal may frequent developed areas or areas with high human use.
  • Food packaging: The black bear has learned to associate humans or human creations with food.
  • Depredation: The black bear has attacked or poses an immediate threat to pets or livestock.
  • Offender: The black bear threatened, attacked or killed a human after being provoked.
  • Predator: The black bear sought engagement with humans.

An experienced fish and wildlife officer or, in provincial parks, a conservation officer, will decide the fate of the black bear based on evidence gathered during an investigation of the incident.

Fort McMurray residents are urged to follow these smart bear strategies to ensure no humans or animals are endangered.

  • Store trash in bear and odor resistant containers or buildings until it can be removed from your property.
  • All possible attractants should be cleaned up and removed as soon as possible, if not immediately, to avoid habituation of bears and other wildlife.
  • Pet food should never be left outdoors or stored in areas accessible to bears.
  • Bird feeders should not be used between April 1 and November 30.
  • Residents must clean barbecue grills and outdoor eating areas after use.
  • Keep your compost indoors. Outdoor compost attracts bears. Consider using an indoor composter.
  • Smokehouses and animal carcasses, including bones, hides and waste, should be stored in bear-proof buildings, away from people.
  • Gardens and fruit trees or shrubs are also attractive to bears and should be properly maintained or removed.
  • Never leave food for wildlife.

If you encounter a dangerous bear or wildlife, report the incident via the 24-hour Report a Poacher line at 1-800-642-3800 or online at https://www.alberta.ca/report-poacher .aspx.

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