Residents in St. Albert’s Erin Ridge neighbourhood had an unexpected visitor Saturday morning.
A black bear was spotted ducking in and out of yards along Everitt Drive around 9 a.m.
Wildlife officials were first called to the area Friday night when a resident reported “a bear was trapped in a yard and agitated because it couldn’t get out.”
Dan Laville, a spokesperson with Alberta Justice and Solicitor General, said officers patrolled the area but were unable to locate the bear Friday.
RCMP, peace officers, along with Fish and Wildlife officials were called back to the area Saturday morning following reports the bear had returned.
The animal was spotted walking along a backyard fence towards a wooded area along a walking path nearby.
“The bear had climbed a large tree when it was immobilized, and it fell to the ground,” Laville said.
“Officers intended to relocate the bear to a safe location that has natural food sources for bears to eat and somewhere where they’re not going to come into conflict with humans again,” Laville said. “Upon examination of the bear, it was determined that the bear had suffered injuries in the process of being immobilized and would not survive if released. For these reasons, officers had to make the difficult choice to put the bear down.”
Officials said it was a male about three years old.
“As much as we always try to do it the right way, dealing with wildlife can be unpredictable, but I’m not about to judge whether it could have been done better,” said Carol Kelly with the Medicine River Wildlife Centre near Red Deer.
Kelly added that there is currently no facility for adult bears to be rehabilitated in Alberta and only one organization that accepts orphaned bear cubs.
“We are on a committee with Fish and Wildlife and we are working very hard to change those protocols,” Kelly said. “I think the general public is demanding there be places where these wild animals can go for recovery because of the damage that we’re doing to their habitats and the animals themselves.”
Residents area being reminded that bears do occasionally wander into urban areas like Edmonton and St. Albert and it is important homeowners take steps to avoid conflict with bears and other wildlife.
Laville suggestions residents store garbage in bear-resistant and odour-proof containers or buildings. Any possible attractants, he added, should be cleaned up and removed as soon as possible if not immediately to avoid habituation of wildlife. Pet food should also never be left outside.
Dangerous wildlife can be reported through the 24-hour Report A Poacher line at 1-800-642-3800.