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‘Active bear’ in southwest Calgary community prompts area closure

Wildlife officers are working to catch and relocate a bear that has been active in a southwest Calgary neighbourhood.

The Discovery Ridge Community Association notified residents that there was an active bear in the area last week.

Alberta Fish and Wildlife closed part of Griffith Woods Park, including some pathways. Bear traps were set up to capture the animal.

The community said the bear reportedly accessed residential waste bins that were stored outside, but not secured.

“Please do your part and ensure wildlife, in particular bears, cannot access the contents of your bins,” the community association said in its advisory.

“This will be one of the key factors in protecting residents and the bear.”

Residents are encouraged to follow the City of Calgary’s Bear Smart practices for home waste, which include:

  • Don’t put carts out overnight;
  • Set carts out between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. on collection day;
  • Put carts away after collection; and
  • Store your cart inside a garage or another secure location.

Last year, the city passed an amendment to its waste bylaw allowing areas to be designated as “wildlife affected,” which implemented tighter restrictions for waste collection.

The City of Calgary temporarily declared Discovery Ridge a wildlife-affected area due to bear activity in the fall. The designation ended in November 2023, according to the city’s website.

Ward 6 Coun. Richard Pootmans, who represents the area, said the city is seeing compliance from residents on the city’s updated the collection rules.

“We’re hearing the process is working as designed. Last year, we learned a lot about waste and waste management and looking after the bears,” he told reporters Monday.

“One has arrived early this year, it seems, and we’re operating in the same manner.”

While getting residents on board was a “challenge,” Pootmans said the city has received fewer calls about wildlife in the area this year than it did last year.

“So I think a lot of people that had concerns when we were going through this process for the first time, a lot of those concerns have been well handled by the administration to make sure that the bears are protected,” he said.

“We have to make sure that we remind ourselves that we are out to look after the bears but we have to make sure that we look after the children as well.”

The city said not to panic, quickly collect children and pets and head indoors if you spot a bear.

Bear sightings and encounters can be reported to Fish and Wildlife at 310-0000 or 1-800-642-3800.

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