It was like Goldilocks and the Three Bears in reverse.
A local man recently encountered a curious bear that had wandered into the foyer of his Lakeview Estates-area home. The man shot and killed the animal in the entranceway of his house. The incident, said Alberta Fish and Wildlife Officer Kerry Rudneski, is not uncommon; although he said he would have tried to shoo the animal away instead of killing it—a much less messy solution.
“Bears will go inside residences: they’ll walk right through a screen door,” Rudneski said. “They’re naturally curious animals, following their nose and looking for an easy meal.”
In addition to that trespassing bruin, there was also a reported cougar sighting in the Holowachuk Estates area—something Rudneski said hasn’t happened in years.
However, since wildlife officers haven’t spotted one of the big cats themselves or found any stored kills—cougars, after eating their fill, store their kills by hiding them in the brush—officials can’t confirm that there is in fact a cougar in the area.
According to Rudneski, these close encounters with wildlife in the Lac La Biche region are “definitely not uncommon.”
“Lac La Biche is a natural funnel for wildlife: it’s a corridor, so people should never be surprised to see animals,” he said. “The hamlet and several subdivisions are situated between two large bodies of water [Beaver Lake and Lac La Biche]. And animals don’t want to have to swim any more than a person does. So they take the natural fall line, which is exactly where the town and subdivisions are.”
Because the area is so rich in wildlife, Alberta Fish and Wildlife ask residents to be bear smart: keep barbecues and decks free of food scraps, don’t leave pet food outside, and don’t leave your garbage outside where it could attract a curious brown or black bear, or other wild animals, to your property.
“Animals are like people: they look for the easiest meal,” Rudneski said. “So a leftover pork chop on a barbecue is pretty attractive for a bear. We can’t preach this bear smart safety enough. Otherwise, it’s only a matter of time before you’re going to have an encounter.”