Bear a frequent visitor
Turner Valley: RCMP encourage the public to keep their distance
Wednesday, Oct 04, 2017 06:00 am
A black bear that’s been frequently wandering into Turner Valley created quite a stir last week.
RCMP Staff Sgt. Dwayne Helgeson said the bear has come into town on at least four separate occasions in the past few weeks climbing trees, exploring a church roof, sneaking into yards and scavenging for ripe fruit – particularly apples.
“He’s here for food, which is what his number one goal is right now,” he said. “He’s showing no aggression to humans.”
Several photographs of the bear have appeared on social media, yet Helgeson is warning residents to keep their distance and reminding them that the bear is a wild animal.
“Some were getting close taking pictures, especially when he was trying to get out of town (last Friday),” he said. “It was a busy time in the afternoon and there was a lot of traffic. As soon as he had a clear route he was running through town and made it out of there.”
Although the bear is not considered dangerous, Helgeson said that could change with increased human involvement.
“He’s a wild animal and he is dangerous if you approach him or corner him,” he said
The bear was last spotted in town on Friday.
The Turner Valley School received a call that the bear was spotted near the school grounds, resulting in the cancelation of its annual Terry Fox Run.
“I could see it from the front door,” said principal James Holladay. “You don’t want to have kids running around where there is a bear right next to the school for safety reasons.”
While students were disappointed about the event’s postponement, Holladay said they understood the importance of keeping their distance from the bear.
“Two weeks ago we had a bear here after school as well so we had the kids call home and not walk home that day,” he said.
Friday was an eventful day for both the bear and RCMP, said Helgeson.
“The biggest thing on Friday was to get him safely to town,” he said. “Everyone wanted to get pictures so he would get scared, climb trees and wouldn’t want to get out of town.”
The RCMP have been in touch with Alberta Fish and Wildlife, said Helgeson.
“If he does come back they are going to live trap him and take him out someplace where he’s safer,” he said. “We would hope he would head out and do his hybernation thing.”
Helgeson said Fish and Wildlife officers are encouraging the public to clean up any ripe fruit from the ground, remove seed from bird feeders and ensure outdoor garage is secure.
“Just stay away, avoid him and call us,” he said.