Three black bears have been euthanized by Fish and Wildlife so far this season in Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo

Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Services have been forced to euthanize three black bears in the Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo area so far this season.

Luis Carlos Flores Aguilar, Communications Advisor, Justice and Solicitor General for the Government of Alberta says that Fish and Wildlife have received a relatively average amount of calls in the region for service involving black bears.

Fish and Wildlife follow the Provincial Black Bear Response Guide to determine the appropriate response regarding bears in the area according to Aguilar.

The response guide is the result of a collaboration of biologists, enforcement officers, and problem wildlife specialists and is reviewed annually.

Multiple factors are used to determine an appropriate response to the human-bear conflict.

This includes the age, sex, and family status of the animal, the animal’s behaviour, the location of the incident, and its known conflict history.

Officers use the following age-based description for the black bear:

  • Cub: <12 months
  • Orphan Cub: < 12 months not accompanied by an adult
  • Young: A cub or yearling that is accompanying the mother
  • Adult: > 12 months

Behaviour of the black bear is based on five points.

  • Habituated: The black bear shows little to no reaction to people and the animal may frequent developed areas or areas of high human use.
  • Food-conditioned: The black bear has learned to associate humans, or human creations with food.
  • Depredation: The black bear has attacked or is an immediate threat to pets or livestock.
  • Offender: The black bear has threatened, attacked, or killed a human after being provoked.
  • Predator: The black bear has sought engagement with humans.

An experienced Fish and Wildlife Officer or, in Provincial Parks, a Conservation Officer, will decide the fate of the black bear based on collected evidence during an investigation of the incident.

Fort McMurray residents are asked to follow these bear-smart strategies to ensure that no humans or animals come into danger.

  • Store garbage in bear-resistant and odour-proof containers or buildings until it can be removed from your property.
  • Any possible attractants should be cleaned up and removed as soon as possible, if not immediately, to avoid habituation of bears and other wildlife.
  • Pet food should never be left outside or stored in areas accessible to bears.
  • Bird feeders should not be used between April 1 and November 30.
  • Residents should clean barbecues and outdoor eating areas after use.
  • Keep your compost indoors. Outdoor compost attracts bears. Look into using an indoor composter.
  • Smokehouses and animal carcasses, including bones, hides and waste, should be stored in bear-resistant buildings well away from people.
  • Gardens and fruit-bearing trees or shrubs also attract bears, and should be properly maintained or removed.
  • Never leave food out for wildlife.

If you encounter a bear or dangerous wildlife, report the incident via the 24-hour Report a Poacher line at 1-800-642-3800 or online at

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