A pair of young grizzly bears captured near Calgary in the past few days has been safely relocated, Alberta Fish and Wildlife said Tuesday.
They were first spotted together in the Cochrane area late last week. The female was captured Friday in Cochrane; the male was tranquilized Monday in the Bearspaw area just west of Calgary, spokesperson Brian Cox said.
“These bears were in populated areas, neighbourhoods where people lived–that is considered a public safety concern,” Cox said. He added it was hoped the male could be caught with the female, but he wouldn’t go into the trap and officers couldn’t get close enough to safely tranquilize him at the time.
“They were attracted to these areas by garbage and pet food and even on one property, chicken coops, so they’re getting into sort of unnatural food source. And our intent here is to get them back to their more natural habitat, their more natural food sources and hopefully we can avoid any sort of conflict between these bears and humans again in the future.”
Residents are happy the bears weren’t euthanized.
“Killing them is the wrong thing,” said Tuscany resident Jennifer Perkins. “We have the resources to take them and put them back in the wild, so we might as well use them.”
Watch below: Grizzly bears captured in Alberta neighbourhood
Cox confirmed putting down a bear is the “most distasteful option” for officers as well as the public.
“Grizzly bears are considered a threatened species in Alberta,” he said. “So it was certainly preferred for us to take the non-lethal route, to take the route where these bears would have the best chance to survive in nature.”
Cox said the bears have been taken to the Burnt Timber area, about 60 kilometres north of Canmore, Alta.
He reminds residents that just like humans, bears are most likely to visit areas where they know there is food. He advises against leaving out garbage or easily-accessible food.
With files from Global’s Gary Bobrovitz