May 1st, 2013
Spring has arrived in the Rockies and bears have begun to leave their dens and are travelling to the valley bottoms in search of spring food sources after fasting for the past 5 to 6 months. Bears eat primarily vegetation, (grasses, forbs, and roots) but will also be cruising the valley bottoms looking for animals that have died or are weakened from the long winter.
Grizzly bear on Maligne Lake Road, April 25, 2013 © Vicki Wallace
Bear Sightings on Trails
If you see a bear, please let us know!
Call Park Dispatch (24 hrs) at 780-852-6155.
Hikers and bikers are reminded that bear season is back and to be aware as you are travelling, watch for sign, make noise. and dust off those bear bells and bear spray. Keep an eye out for signs of carrion or dead animals that may be protected by a bear.
Both grizzlies and black bears will be found in the valley bottom in spring. Most of the bears seen in the valley bottoms in spring are males or females with older cubs. Females with young cubs often stay in or near the den site longer and avoid the valley bottom areas which would put their cubs at risk.
Elk Calving Season
Spring also brings elk calving season. These elk calves are a very important early season source of protein for grizzly and black bears as well as wolves and coyotes. Elk calve from mid May till the end of June. For the first few days of an elks life they don’t run very fast and mom will hide the calf and only come back to it to nurse or feed it. The calf is programmed to lie very still and not move. Predators such as black and grizzlies basically zig zag through the calving areas in valley bottoms looking for these newly borne calves. When they find them, they try to avoid an angry, protective momma elk and get a tasty meal. Momma elk though are very smart and have learned that if you go into areas where there are lots of people such as Jasper town site, Jasper Park Lodge or the campgrounds, the predators are less likely to gobble your baby. This is good for the elk but not so good for the park visitor who happens to get too close to where Momma elk has hidden her baby and she comes out mad as heck and ready to protect her calf.
Jasper National Park
Weekly Bear Sightings Report
April 22 - 30, 2013
|Single Black Bears
Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge
Pine Bungalow Cabins
Hwy 93 - Jonas Creek area
|Black Bear Females with Cubs
|Single Grizzly Bears
||Maligne Lake Road (x3)|
|Grizzly Bear Females with Cubs
As we enter bear season, take time to brush up on these bear safety tips:
Stay alert on the trails
- Make noise
- Look for fresh bear sign
- Travel in groups
- Keep your dog on a leash
- Carry bear spray and know how to use it
- If you encounter a bear, give it LOTS of space
Drive with care
Safely store bear attractants
- Reduce your speed
- Stay in your vehicle when watching roadside bears – do not follow a bear into the forest
- Keep food, garbage, recyclables, pet food, and BBQ’s in bear-proof storage or hard-sided vehicles.
For more information on bears and how to stay safe in bear country, please check out the following links:
Jasper National Park Important Bulletins
Trail conditions report
Bears and People - A Guide to Safety and Conservation on the Trail
Sharing the Land with Grizzly Bears