Grizzly returns: Trio of grizzly bears returns to Nelson following removal
And the bears came back, the very next day, as the saying goes.
Removal of an adult female grizzly bear and her two yearling cubs from the urban confines of Nelson last week did not take. On Friday, provincial officials — including Ministry of Environment (MOE) conservation officers and Ministry of Forests (MOF) wildlife biologists — were “actively monitoring a grizzly bear sow and two yearling cubs in Nelson.”
Although the bears have returned for the second time, MOE has noted the animals have not exhibited any aggressive or conflict behaviour.
“We recognize bear activity in communities can cause concern for area residents. Conservation officers will respond as necessary to ensure public safety,” an MOE spokesperson said Saturday morning.
The bears were earlier relocated to a wilderness area outside of the community last week — as they were the week before in the Uphill neighbourhood near Mountain Station — but have since returned. The adult female is now radio collared which allows her movements to be tracked.
“We ask the public to give them space in the hope they move on from the area,” the MOE said.
To help ensure these bears do not linger, the MOE is asking people to ensure food attractants are securely stored.
“People can help us by inspecting their yards and properties and ensuring any attractants, such as garbage, pet food, composts, or birdseed, are properly secured,” the MOE noted.
People can keep barbecues clean and make sure fruit is removed from trees and the ground.
“Fruit appears to be the main attractant in this case, and we ask local residents to put extra effort into removing fruit from trees or the ground,” the MOE release said.
Back in black
Nelson residents are advised that the Nelson to Salmo Great Northern Trail will be closed from Troupe to the Highway 6 crossing — including the rails to trails south of Nelson — North of Cottonwood, due to grizzly bears returning to the area.
Local governments, including the Regional District of Central Kootenay and City of Nelson, have posted on social media that the mama grizzly and her two yearlings, who were recently relocated out of the community, have returned. The City of Nelson said the rail trails and surrounding trails are now closed to all users.
The City of Nelson social media said that for those that still have fruit/nuts on their trees — or store your garbage outside unsecured — to pick fruit/nuts and bring garbage inside. As well, upper Uphill residents should leash dogs when out with them — especially late afternoons and night.
All officials and local governments are aware, and are asking the community to report any sightings of these bears to the RAPP hotline (1-877-952-7277) or online at https://forms.gov.bc.ca/environment/rapp/.
Last year was a very active year for wildlife and human conflict in Nelson, with bear activity the highest it has been in six years, the WildSafeBC coordinator for the Heritage city said. Rosie Wijenberg said the elements and human habituation drove the increase in Nelson.
“Which we think it was due to the kind of summer we had: there were floods; there was fire; there was also drought; and this led to bear activity to kind of spike locally,” she said in making her annual report to city council.
Drought and smoke combined to contribute to a poor berry crop in the backcountry, so when fall came around the number of bear conflicts spiked, she added.
Wijenberg noted that cougar activity was kind of low, which wasn’t apparent since there were a couple of high profile cases around Pulpit Rock. However, grizzly bear conflicts were slightly higher with a couple of incidents at Kokanee Creek Park that were “worrisome,” she noted
“So, generally, overall it was a higher wildlife activity year for conflict,” Wijenberg said.
Source: The Nelson Daily, March, 2022
Editor’s Note: This story was updated with the clarification the Grizzly Bears returned for a second time, and not three that was originally stated in the story.