Bear Activity Report

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Bear Activity: May 19 to May 25

Brown bear fishing for salmon (waiting for a salmon to practically jump into its mouth) Photo by Jamin Mulvey

(Banff National Park East Gate to Bow Valley Provincial Park)

For the period: May 19th to May 25th 2017

Welcome to the weekly bear report!


It was a bear filled May Long Weekend and subsequent week. Multiple bears (primarily black bears although in some cases species couldn’t be confirmed) have been seen all over the Bow Valley and in many areas of Canmore, including downtown, Three Sisters, Prospect Heights and down by the engine bridge. There have been reports of bears closing distances on people, and these incidents are being investigated. You should expect to see bears in all areas of town, including well travelled and popular trails (i.e down by the river or around Quarry Lake). When you go out, be aware of your surroundings, make noise, keep pets on leash and carry bear spray.

Photo by Jamin Mulvey

Photo by Jamin Mulvey

For more information on areas in the Bow Valley frequented by bears at this time of year visit our human-bear conflict summary map.

Current Warnings and Closures

It continues to be elk calving season. Mother elk are very protective and can aggressively defend their calves which may be hidden in thick vegetation. Be aware of your surroundings, even on popular and well visited trails around town. If you see a mother elk and calf do not approach and give them lots of space!

-There is an ongoing Seasonal Wildlife Closure on the trails within the designated wildlife corridor at the Canmore Nordic Centre which are within Bow Valley Wildland Provincial Park

Additional bear warnings and closures available here for anyone visiting Kananaskis Country and Alberta Parks.

Additional warnings and closures available here for Banff National Park

The information above is based upon a compilation of bear information provided by government agencies and unconfirmed sightings reported by the public over the last week. It is not intended to be used as a real time, complete record of where bears are in the valley.

And Now some Paws-itive News

Maybe you’ve seen some Bow Valley grizzly bears and thought …’wow! That bear is small’! Some people are surprised to learn that Rocky Mountain grizzly bears are among the smallest brown bears (the brown bear species, ursus arctos, not the colour) found in North America. While genetically all ursus arctos (brown bears) are similar, our brown bears (grizzlies) here in the Bow Valley are much smaller than their coastal counterparts. Banff’s biggest bear, the Boss (no.122), weighs in between 225-325 kg (or 500-700 lbs) compared to bears on the coast and Kodiak Island who can weigh as much as 680 kg (1500 lbs)! The reason for the difference in weight is in their different diets. Bears in the Bow Valley eat a diet that is roughly 80% vegetation. Throughout the summer you will spot Bow Valley bears eating dandelions, roots, and lots of berries, but very little meat. In comparison, the coastal bears have access to salmon filled rivers which allows them to grow a lot bigger than their inland counterparts. But we know that size doesn’t matter; our bears are still awesome!

Brown bear fishing for salmon (waiting for a salmon to practically jump into its mouth) Photo by Jamin Mulvey

Brown bear fishing for salmon (waiting for a salmon to practically jump into its mouth). Photo by Jamin Mulvey

For anyone who hasn’t had a chance to check out the new living with wildlife video, here it is!





Important Note:

Please do not use the comment box to report sightings of wildlife.

Report any sightings of a bear, cougar, wolf or any aggressive wildlife in Kananaskis or the Bow Valley to Kananaskis Emergency Services 403.591.7755

For current postings of Bear Warnings, Wildlife Warnings and Closures please visit the following page:
Kananaskis Country - Advisories and Public Safety

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