A juvenile black bear was immobilized and relocated from Invermere’s Pothole Park on Monday, August 26th.
The bear, estimated to be 3 years old, was spotted wandering in the gully of the downtown park, located in bustling downtown Invermere. Conservation Officer Sgt. Drew Milne attended, along with Columbia Valley RCMP members and Invermere WildSafe coordinator Jenna Milne.
Pothole Park is right in the urban centre of Invermere, with tourists and locals milling around its perimeter. With a revolving audience watching the action in the gully, there were safety concerns should the bear bolt out of the park and either into traffic, potentially causing an accident, or even lashing out at bystanders. There was no suitable greenspace nearby to encourage the bear to run towards either.
The black bear was visibly distressed, Sgt. Milne notes. This was the first encounter COS has had with this particular bear, who is likely still searching for his own territory. Sgt. Milne speculates the bear wandered into town sometime in the night, attracted by fruit. (There was evidence of fruit in the bear’s scat), and he asks residents to please clean up attractants in your yard, including fruit and garbage.
The officers worked together to corral the bear into the lower portion of the park, where Sgt. Milne was able to safely immobilize the bear and transport it outside of town.
“We used the wonderful services of the RCMP staff officers to help corral the bear,” Sgt. Milne explains. “We then brought it to the vehicle, did a bit of PR for folks to understand [what happened and why], and put an ear tag in it. We then put it in a bear trap, let it wake up and gave it some water, then translocated it.”
The whole incident in the park took about an hour and a half. Sgt. Milne encourages people in situations like this to stay well away from the wildlife and the officers dealing with the situation.
If you encounter a bear in an urban area, call the RAPP line at 1-877-952-RAPP .