Dear Editor:

Were heading into fall, and bears are now preparing for hibernation. They are trying to put on as much fat as possible and looking for calories. If the berries and other high-calorie foods are scarce up the mountains, bears will come to the valley bottom to look for other sources of food.

In the last couple weeks, the towns of Invermere and Radium Hot Springs have had bears roaming the streets looking for garbage, fruit, birdseed, and anything that smells like food. A bear has been sighted getting into residential garbage at Westside Park. Radium has had a couple of bears sighted in the residential area eating from apple trees and bird feeders.

Bear Aware and the Conservation Officers heard about these sightings through word of mouth as no reports were made to the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line.

Calling in to report a bear documents the sighting and tells Conservation Officers where bears are and what they are doing in our communities. In turn, the Conservation Officers can recruit Bear Aware to go into the areas and work with residents. Call the RAPP line (1-877-952-7277) if a bear is sighted.

Follow these tips to avoid bears foraging in town: store garbage inside until pick up day; take down bird feeders; pick fruit as it ripens; dont let windfall accumulate; and clean barbecues after every use.

Crystal Leonard

Bear Aware Community Coordinator