Grizzly Bear Refuge Report

Special September Update

It’s that time of year again where bears are in a panicked state to eat as many calories each day as possible before entering their winter dormancy state. I wanted to take this time to educate all you wonderful bear enthusiasts to help everyone human and bear, keep safe this fall.
Bears are highly sensitive right now and berries this fall are poor which means the bears out there will be capitalizing on any bushes that actually produced. Right now bears have one thing on their minds and that is FOOD! They will not be paying attention to their surroundings especially on a good food supply. Please when hiking in bear country, take extra precaution by making noise, travelling in groups of 4 or more and keeping your pets on their leashes. Bears will be extra guarded of their sources of food and won’t be so willing to just move off the beaten trail at this time of year. Always carry bear spray and make sure your can of bear spray is not expired. Bear spray should always be carried on your hip or on your chest attached to a vest. It should be easily accessible and never packed away in your back pack. If signs of a bear in the area become more present, be respectful and turn away from your hike. Remember bears are out there trying to get nice and fat so they can survive the entire winter without eating or drinking. Hiking is a lot of fun but it’s not crucial to your survival.
If you are camping in bear country, please keep your food 100 yards away from your tent either in a dry sack up in a tree or confined in an air tight container. You should always set your tent 100 yards from your fire to prevent your tent smelling like the foods you’ve cooked. The clothes you wear while cooking should never be the clothes you sleep in, so keep your pj’s in your tent and your camp fire clothes out. Keep your tooth pastes and deodorants locked away with your foods, although they may not seem tasty to us, they are to bears! Please remember to pack out all you pack in to your campsite, no one wants to clean your garbage and garbage is dangerous to all wildlife. If you live in bear country please remove all attractants from your property or keep them safely locked in a shed/garage if possible. Ensure bears are not able to get at your garbage and pick up any fallen fruit from your fruit trees. If there is nothing to attract bears to town, they will move right on through and not be inclined to hang out in town. Although we humans are a great risk to bears, bears ultimately know if they don’t take a risk for food it will mean their life anyhow so they take the risk. It is our responsibility to manage our wastes and to be responsible for ourselves. Education is key and if we all know how to be bear aware then we all can be bear smart creating a safe place for both bears and humans to peacefully coexist.

Nicole Gangnon, Grizzly Bear Refuge Wildlife Ranger

Grizzly Bear Refuge Report – August 2014

With numerous wild fires burning throughout British Columbia, the presence of smoke and decreased air quality have posed a challenge for Boo the last few weeks. Grizzly bears depend upon their extraordinarily acute sense of smell, and it appears that Boo’s has been compromised by all the smoke in the air.
Boo follows his nose to locate both the natural foods inside his habitat as well as the supplemental foods provided by staff. Ordinarily Boo quickly hones in on his supplements, but lately the staff has noticed that Boo sometimes seems disoriented and that it takes him much longer than usual to find his food.
Exacerbating the situation, Boo recently entered the annual state of hyperphagia, that period during which grizzly bears eat voraciously to bulk up for the long winter dormancy ahead. Boo knows that he must increase his food intake substantially during this critical time. It must be frustrating to him that the strong smell of smoke overpowers the more delicate scent of food.
Nevertheless, Boo has been exploiting seasonal and new sources of food. Several varieties of berries are ripe within his habitat, so Boo is spending lots of time foraging among the berry bushes. He is also tearing apart stumps and dead logs more often than usual, so apparently some condition of insects, their eggs, or larvae inside must be just right for Boo at this time. Most unusual, Boo discovered that one of his pools is teeming with tadpoles so he makes daily visits to this pond to consume as many of the juvenile amphibians as he can. This is particularly interesting for GBR staff because this behavior has never been observed previously in the 11 years that Boo has lived at the refuge. It just goes to prove that you never know what you might see during a visit. The season is winding down, so come visit Boo as he prepares for the long winter ahead.

Ross Prather, Grizzly Bear Refuge Manager