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LETTER: Be aware of reporting animal activity

Editor: We all love seeing wild animals and the best thing we can do is leave them alone and report where they are. It is good to let our communities know about local bear activity. It is equally important to help bears stay safe from harm.

Editor:

We all love seeing wild animals and the best thing we can do is leave them alone and report where they are.

It is good to let our communities know about local bear activity. It is equally important to help bears stay safe from harm. When we help bears, we also help ourselves and all the folks doing wildlife work, running about responding to calls during the months when bears are trying to bulk up for hibernation.

The first and probably the hardest thing to do is to rid our gardens of predictable attractants. It is all about ridding our neighbourhoods of the foods that ripen now, such as crabapples and a few other fruiting trees. Condo boards, commercial properties and rental agencies should all assess the properties they manage and (ideally) make necessary changes, as well.

Photos are fun to share but not nearly as interesting nor as lasting as a darned good story. Watch the animal or animals, notice details about size. compare the size of younger bears to a dog species you know, colour, presence of an ear tag or distinguishing marks, a limp, behaviour, direction of travel and then telephone the appropriate agency: Kananaskis at 403-591-7755 and Banff National Park local at 403-762-1470. The Biosphere Institute of the Bow Valley's WildSmart (403-687-3445) is a terrific source of information and advice as well as a bear report at www.biosphereinstitute.org/bear-report. Keep all the phone numbers in your cell directory.

Additionally, remember to keep your BBQ clean, feed your pets inside the house, keep your dog on a leash when out for walks, don’t leave garbage outside and never leave home without your bear spray. Bears are not the only wild animals who come through our neighbourhoods: elk, deer, coyotes, cougar, and smaller creatures such as martens and wild hares are not unusual.

Some areas of Canmore also have feral rabbits, which are also wild carnivores. Take time to rabbit-proof your yard. When you see a bear, first make the right phone calls, and then notify your neighbours, post your sightings and write a short paragraph or two about your sightings so that you have a good story to share with others. Bears come to town every year. They will be back next year and then again in another year and the year after that and so on. We should do the best we can, making changes to help our wild neighbours. It makes life easier for all of us, including bears.

Colleen Campbell,

Canmore