By Breanne Massey

Pioneer Staff

A sow (female bear) and her cub were evicted from a slumber while hibernating in a den under a deck (with an open side) at the Lakeview Meadows subdivision.

The Invermere Conservation Officer Service visited the Lakeview Meadows accommodation and safely relocated the animals to a different area on Tuesday,

December 8th.

The bears were evicted from this residence by conservation officers and a helpful neighbour, who graciously turned his water on and put on his high power water nozzle, said Invermere conservation officer Greg Kruger by email. With the use of cracker shells, a poking stick and the water spray, the bears reluctantly awoke from their winter slumber and left this property.

Afterwards, Lakeview Meadows manager Jim Turner along with some contractors on site, worked toward securing the opening of the deck at the vacant property to prevent wildlife from returning to the area.

It was discovered by one of the neighbours on Sunday, December 6th, explained Mr. Turner by phone. He came out and he noticed that there was some bear scat around, also that the grass had been scratched up and you could also see where the bear had entered underneath the deck. He looked underneath there and could see a black shape with two big eyes staring at him, so at that point in time, he called Mr. Kruger. We basically stayed away from it so we wouldnt spook or agitate it until it was scared out of the den on December 8th with the hopes that it could find another den for the winter.

Mr. Kruger and the Invermere Conservation Officer Service are urging people to wait for colder weather and snow before putting up their bird feeders to avoid attracting bears.

Invermere conservation officers are still receiving the odd report of black bear activity in the Columbia Valley, so we encourage people to be extra vigilant with securing food sources such as bird feeders and garbage, Mr. Kruger explained. Any reports of conflicts with wildlife should be reported to the 24/7 Conservation Officer Report line at 1-877-952-RAPP (7277).

WildSafe BC community co-ordinator Andrea Smillie and Mr. Kruger encourage people to move slowly to a safe area if a bear is nearby; speak in a calm voice and to try to remain calm in the presence of wildlife; and to avoid contact with bears by removing food sources over the winter.

The important thing to remember is that bears often stay active throughout the month of December, explained Ms. Smillie. Its weather and food-dependent, so we need to stay vigilant in managing our attractants, as bears can grow accustomed to staying in neighbourhoods that provide a food source, like bird feed, as it has a lot of calories in it.

The duo added that Mr. Turner will be making the rounds to inform Lakeview Meadows residents and second homeowners of precautions so that the subdivision as a whole can stay bear-smart this winter.