A black bear cub forages for food along a salmon stream below a bear viewing spot for tourists in the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area in Juneau, Alaska. (File photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Possible bear sighting in Lacombe County natural area

A warning sign has been posted outside of a Central Alberta natural area after a report of a bear sighting.

The juvenile bear was reportedly spotted in the JJ Collett Natural Area, north of Lacombe. Since then, Alberta Fish and Wildlife has posted a warning sign, warning of the potential for a bear to be in the area.

Jack Surbey, president of the JJ Collett Natural Area board, said it was an unusual place for a bear.

Surbey said there was one year when they thought they saw bear scat in the natural area, but after a conversation with a wildlife officer they found out it was a coyote that was eating berries.

“We’ve never really had any there before,” said Surbey, who has worked with the natural area for 30 years. “We’re not sure if it’s a real sighting or not, but we’re taking precautions.

“It’s unusual, but maybe there could be a bear passing through there.”

Still they’re treating the possible sighting with concern, as juvenile bears early in the season may also include their mothers.

But, Surbey acknowledged it would be pretty rare for a bear to turn up in the natural area.

“We want everybody to be safe and you have to treat it like there is a bear there,” said Surbey.

Skunks, porcupines, deer and moose are more common to the area.

The JJ Collett Natural Area covers 635 acres of aspen parkland located east of Hwy 2 at Township Road 414. Established in 1985, it has 18 kms of paved trails.


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