A grizzly with something around its neck has been evading conservation officers for a couple of months now.
Smithers conservation officer Flint Knibbs said his office was first notified of the grizzly wandering on the ski hill in September with something tight on his neck. A concerned member of the public took a photo of it and sent it in, worried about it wearing too tight of a collar.
“Looking at the photograph, we don’t think it’s a collar,” Knibbs said. “We actually don’t know what it is. And won’t until we can get our hands on the bear. But there appears to be something on its neck.”
Conservation officers then got a call that the bear was near Seymour Lake but then it seemed to disappear until Sunday when someone called it in, saying it was near Lake Kathlyn.
“Reports have been that it’s pretty slow-moving, docile, but on the go all the time. And there’s only been a few photos that we’ve seen actually of it out during the day. Most of it has been people seeing tracks in their yard when they wake up in the morning,” he added.
He is concerned for the bear’s well-being.
“Right now bears are trying to get ready for hibernation this time of year. Lots of them are probably sleeping already. And it’s somewhat concerning for this bear’s welfare, that it’s not sleeping, and it’s still active because the natural food sources are fairly minimal right now… there’s no green grass, there’s no berries to eat, there’s no fish in the river. So if there is an issue that it doesn’t have the fat reserves to go into hibernation, then it’s going to continue trying to find food, and there’s just not a lot of natural food. So it’s going to be really critical that people have their yards clean and don’t have anything that a bear is going to find attractive in their yard, like garbage and birdseed and barbecues. Those sorts of things.”
Flint said they have traps out but so far, they have not been able to capture it. The cold weather has not been helping as bears don’t get the scent of the food in the traps when it is -20.
They would like to look at its injuries and then make an educated decision on what to do with the bear.
He added that if people see the bear to call the RAPP line right away at 1-877-952-7277.