CALGARY — A grizzly bear that had residents in a southwest Calgary neighbourhood looking nervously over their shoulders for the past week has been captured by fish and wildlife officers.
The bruin’s arrival led to the closure of Griffith Woods Park after the bear was spotted by a jogger and four other residents of the area.
Alberta Fish and Wildlife officers had placed two traps in the park and the animal entered one of them early Friday.
“They are going to be assessing its health and then from there they will determine where the best place to take it would be … where it has the best chance of survival,” said Brendan Cox, spokesman for Alberta’s Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Branch.
“Nobody was hurt. Hopefully we can confirm the bear is in good health so it’s certainly our intent that it will be a positive outcome for this bear. The relocation ultimately is for its safety as well.”
Cox said the mature bear is being tagged and will be released Saturday in the Nordegg area.
This latest bear-human encounter comes after another Alberta grizzly was shot by a hunter in B.C. after being relocated from the Canmore and Banff area to a remote park north of Jasper.
The Alberta government had moved the grizzly, known as Bear 148, in July after it had gotten too close to people too many times.
Cox said the Calgary grizzly, which weighs 340 pounds, had been sticking mostly to natural vegetation but did get into some crabapples in one yard.
“It’s used to humans and not necessarily scared of them but it’s not as food-conditioned as some other bears we’ve seen. We do want to give it a chance here and relocate it,” Cox said.
“We are considering it a success. This is what we felt would be best not only for the bear but for the people in the area as well.”
Grizzly bears are a threatened species in Alberta and it has been illegal to hunt them in the province since 2006. About 700 grizzlies remain in the province but they don’t usually show up in places like Calgary.
“Black bears, of course, are much more numerous in Alberta in general and we do tend to see more of them,” Cox said.
“It is definitely rare to see a grizzly make it this close to a big city like Calgary.”