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Preparedness when living in bear country a highlight of upcoming BearSmart course

The province and County of Grande Prairie are encouraging residents to recognize Grande Prairie is bear country and the importance of being prepared. On Wednesday, April 19th the county will be holding a BearSmart Outdoor Safety Course. During the course, participants will learn the difference between black bears and grizzly bears, along with how to use bear deterrents, and strategies to reduce the conflict between bears and humans.

In June 2011 the provincial government conducted a bear hazard assessment, to analyze the causes and locations of human-bear conflicts in the region. A few key areas in the region identified were highlighted as hotspots for bear and human interactions; including the area south of Grande Prairie, specifically in the subdivisions and smaller communities near the Wapiti River, around Sturgeon Lake, and the area near Goodfare and Rio Grande. The first two areas saw a higher number of black bear encounters because of garbage-attracting bears into the community, while the Rio Grande area saw a higher number of grizzly bear encounters because of agricultural attractants. The results of the assessment prompted the Grande Prairie and area Fish and Wildlife office to initiate a local BearSmart program.

In 2022 MyGrandePrairieNow.com reported on two bear sightings in the region. In April a grizzly bear was spotted in the MD of Greenview around the Greenview Regional Landfill, while in June there were reports of a black bear in Muskoseepi Park near Thrill Hill.

Those interested in taking the BearSmart course in Clairmont on the 19th can sign up online. Anytime residents find themselves in situations with dangerous wildlife they are encouraged to call the Alberta Fish and Wildlife Office at 780-827-3626 or 780-827-3356.

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