Citizens on alert but not frightened by large wildlife in area

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A black bear has been spotted in the Weaselhead Natural Environment Area, next to the community of Lakeview.

Alberta Fish and Wildlife officers have placed bear traps in Weaselhead after the bear was first sighted on Sept. 30, along with several caution signs indicating that a bear is loose in the area and visitors should be extra careful.

Weaselhead may be within the city limits, but it is a natural area that borders the edge of southwest Calgary.

“If a bear is to come into Calgary, Weaselhead is a very likely spot for it to come in,” said Tom Biglin, an Alberta Fish and Wildlife officer for the Calgary district.

Bears in the Lakeview area are not uncommon, according to Biglin. There is no definitive number but bears, along with other large wildlife, tend to come into the city limits through Weaselhead on a somewhat regular basis, he said.

Loose bear notice

Notices have been posted in Weaselhead Natural Environment Area and the community of Lakeview after a black bear was spotted in the area two weeks ago.

Photo by: Clayton GoodwinThe posted signs in the area state that a “problem bear” is in the area. But according to Biglin, “This particular bear hasn’t caused any problems as of yet, it’s just that it is in the city limits.”

When asked about how long a search for a bear in the city limits lasts, Biglin said they don’t actually search for the bear, but the traps and signs can be set up for various amounts of time. It just depends on how many calls the city receives from the public and if the bear does anything problematic, Biglin explained.

Biglin said he suspects the reason this bear is currently in our city is that it is searching for food in order to fatten up for its coming hibernation.

Duncan Kent, president of the Lakeview Community Association, was not contacted by Alberta Fish and Wildlife officers, but recently found out about the black bear on his own.

“I saw the signs posted in Weaselhead, and now I have actually seen traces of bear scat (feces) in North Glenmore Park; so the bear has actually started to come out of the Weaselhead area,” said Kent.

“This issue affects residents of Lakeview, but it also affects people from all over the city who go into the Weaselhead area.”

Even though the bear is venturing closer towards Lakeview, Kent is not worried about it, nor is he concerned about going into Weaselhead himself.

“The best thing that can be done is to post signs warning the public so they take extra caution,” said Kent. “That has been done, so I don’t feel any need to avoid the area.”

Kent may appear rather cavalier with the thought of a black bear roaming his neighbourhood, but the fact is that this isn’t the first time potentially dangerous wildlife have ventured close to Lakeview.

“Just three or four weeks ago, there was a huge cougar in the trees by the canoe club in North Glenmore Park,” said Kent. “I heard tons of people stopped to watch it.”

The incident with the cougar didn’t amount to anything serious.

Large animals tend to venture in and around Lakeview on a regular basis, and it appears as though residents don’t seem to be bothered too much by it.

Citizens seem to exercise more caution once they know an animal is loose, but running into animals such as bears, cougars, and deer is to be expected, considering how close the community is to Weaselhead.

Calgarian Ruth Eeles and her family also have no problem going into Weaselhead.

“It doesn’t stop us; we have two strollers and a couple of dogs. So we are making more than enough noise to scare away a bear,” said Eeles.

“We had no idea there were bears in Weaselhead. We did see the signs and thought about bringing the bear spray that’s in our car, but in the end we figured we wouldn’t need it.”

If you want to report a sighting of a large or dangerous animal, call the Report a Poacher phone line, toll-free at 1-800-642-3800. To speak to someone at the Alberta Fish and Wildlife Calgary office, call 403-297-6423.

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