A wildlife expert is warning people in Canmore to be on the lookout for bears.
Unusually high numbers of them have been spotted around town, searching for food as they get ready to hibernate.
“There was a bear on my street (Tuesday) that my daughter saw from the school bus,” wildlife biologist Sarah Elmeligi said.
Alberta government officials say that since Tuesday, five black bears in Canmore have been captured and relocated.
One factor in the increased numbers of bear is the record heat way during the early summer of 2021.
“A lot of berries were killed in that heat wave and so there’s not actually a lot of wild berries available for bears this year, which means that they’re coming to where the food is and right now (that’s on) fruit trees and fruit producing bushes in people’s yards,” Elmeligi said. “We’ve also had a really good crop of mountain ash berries this year, (which is ) definitely drawing bears into town and keeping them there.”
There are steps people can take to make Canmore less attractive to bears on the prowl for food.
“People should really have a look at their yards and consider removing trees or bushes that bear fruit,” Elmeligi said. “And then make sure that you don’t have dirty barbeques or dog food outside, pumpkins or outdoor compost . All of those things can bring bears into residential areas.”
Elmeligi said the fall is always a time when bears are likely to come into the town.
“The pressure is really on for them to eat as much as they possibly can before they go into hibernation,” Elmeligi said.
Elmeligi says anyone who’s planning to hike in or near Canmore should take precautions.
“If you get to the trailhead and there’s a bear in the area (sign), you can go somewhere else and still have a great day,” Elmeligi said. “I don’t mind changing my patterns of behaviour to give that bear some space.”