Calgary Herald

Beware of Banff bears emerging from winter dens

- Lea Storry lstorry@CalgaryHer­ald.Com

Spring has sprung and bears are again roaming the mountain parks following their winter hibernatio­n.

Parks Canada reports that a male grizzly was spotted Friday near Castle Junction in Banff National Park feasting on a deer carcass.

Rob LeBlanc, a resource management specialist with the Banff field unit, said the bears are staying in the Bow Valley to avoid the snow at higher elevations.

“They’re sharing the same limited space (with people),” said LeBlanc. “Residents and park visitors should be practising the usual bear prevention.”

LeBlanc said staying safe in grizzly country means carrying bear spray and making noise to let the animal know you’re there. If you see a grizzly, stay cool, he said.

“Speak to the bear calmly and firmly,” LeBlanc advised. “Let it know you’re human and you’re not a threat, and back away slowly.”

Male grizzlies are usually the first to leave the dens. Females and cubs follow a few weeks later.

Black bears share similar habits as grizzlies and should be out foraging for food. Both animals are omnivores, but much of the greenery is covered with snow.

“They can’t dig for roots and bulbs,” said LeBlanc. “Now they’re looking for carcasses of animals that died over the winter.”

 ?? Courtesy, Dan Rafla, Parks Canada ?? Grizzly bears are coming out of hibernatio­n after a long winter’s sleep. this bear was photograph­ed Friday in the Castle Junction area.
Courtesy, Dan Rafla, Parks Canada Grizzly bears are coming out of hibernatio­n after a long winter’s sleep. this bear was photograph­ed Friday in the Castle Junction area.

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