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Bear killed after getting into campers’ food on Abraham Lake Crown land site

A bear roaming across a park.
A bear roaming across a park. Wildlife Coexistence Lab

Alberta Fish and Wildlife euthanized a bear that got a taste of human food at a Crown land camping spot near Nordegg.

On July 28 around 2 p.m., Fish and Wildlife officers say a bear entered a campsite multiple times to take unattended food, before being scared off by campers.

Officers were also told the bear was seen in the area regularly over the past few days.

READ MORE: Black bear euthanized at Waterton Lakes National Park for ‘excessive level of habituation’: Parks Canada

Fish and Wildlife decided to close off the area on July 29 to capture the bear. The closure was to be in effect until Aug. 5, however, the bear was successfully captured that night.

“Having a habituated large animal in high use recreation areas is a serious public safety concern, especially when the animal is not shy of humans and even willingly approaches them,” explained Alberta Justice spokesperson Ina Lucila.

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“Bears that show this sort of behaviour are at an increased risk to injure or kill someone. For these reasons, officers had to make the difficult choice to put this bear down to prevent future public safety problems.”

Waterton Lakes officials euthanize black bear that had excessive level of habituation
Waterton Lakes officials euthanize black bear that had excessive level of habituation

Because the bear was killed, the area closure was lifted on July 30.

Lucila said in this case, campers did not report the bear activity for a few days, giving the bear more opportunities to get used to being around people.

“Officers have a better chance of taking the appropriate actions to prevent a bear from becoming habituated if they are notified of the situation right away.

To report bear sightings or encounters, call the 24/7 Report A Poacher line at 1-800-642-3800.

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“This is a reminder of the importance of being BearSmart while recreating in bear country,” Fish and Wildlife said in a statement posted to their Facebook account.

READ MORE: Alberta backcountry being overused by campers who cut trees, leave garbage and trespass: report

“It is extremely important for people recreating in bear country to do their part in managing any attractants for their own safety and the safety of the bear itself.”

Officers said there are a number of ways to arrange your campsite to avoid interactions with bears.

  • Leave space between units: place tents, trailers, vehicles and horses with enough room between them so bears can escape and campers can see them.
  • Store food, toiletries and pet food in airtight containers and keep them at least 100 metres from your sleeping area in bear-resistant storage lockers or the trunk of your car. Do not store food in a tent or tent trailer.
  • Store garbage in plastic bags that are inaccessible to wildlife and pack it out at the end of your stay.
  • Never cook or eat in or near your tent. Keep your campsite clean.
  • Be cautious when moving around the camp at night and remember to use a flashlight.