Airdrie bear visitor successfully relocated

A bear is seen in an Airdrie neighbourhood on August 8, 2022. RCMP are warning residents to stay indoors until conservation officers are able to corral the animal. Global News

The young black bear caught in a southwest Airdrie neighbourhood on Monday has been successfully relocated, officials confirmed Tuesday.

Fish and wildlife district officer Mike Rayment said the decision to relocate the yearling was in line with a response guide put together by provincial biologists.

“In this case, we did determine that, as far as we could tell, we had no information to suggest that (the bear) was showing any signs that it was food conditioned, any conditioning to unnatural food sources or any habituation or over-familiarity with people. So we did decide at that point that it would be a candidate for relocation,” Rayment said. “And today it’s been relocated to an area a ways northwest of Calgary.”

Officials estimated the bear to be around 100 pounds in weight and around a year and a half old.

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“It was likely just recently kicked loose by its mama and somehow found its way into Airdrie.”

Rayment said bear calls aren’t uncommon in Calgary, especially in neighbourhoods surrounding the Weaselhead Flats, the Glenmore Reservoir or Fish Creek Provincial Park. But he said a bear visit to Airdrie is more rare.

“When they have a lot of space to roam and they’re not showing any sort of concerning behavior, generally, it’s not as much of a concern for us. But when they do venture into more dense, urban areas like this one in Airdrie, it’s a ways into an urban environment with lots of people around, it does change our response at that point,” he told Global News.

Click to play video: 'Wandering bear cub spends afternoon in Airdrie’s backyards'
Wandering bear cub spends afternoon in Airdrie’s backyards

The fish and wildlife officer said things like unsecured garbage and fruit-laden trees can draw bears further into cities.

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He said the Airdrie residents that ran into the black bear did the right thing.

“A big thing is in an urban area – same as you would in more of a remote setting – just give it lots of space, try to back away slowly and don’t don’t corner it or pressure it into moving in a certain way,” Rayment said.

Officials advise that visitors should carry bear spray while in the outdoors where bears are known to roam. They also advise if a bear is encountered in the wild, to follow these tips to avoid a conflict:

  • Do not run. Stay calm. Stay with your group and keep children close. Assess the situation
  • Look around. If you see cubs or an animal carcass, the bear will want to protect them. If you see either, back away from them
  • Prepare to use your bear spray
  • Back out. Leave the area the way that you came. Keep your eye on the bear without staring at it aggressively
  • Watch for a place to hide. As you back away, seek out a place of safety, such as a car or building
  • Speak to the bear in a soft, low voice. Let the bear know that you are human and not a prey animal
  • Use your noisemaker and prepare to defend yourself with bear spray

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