Grizzly bear in southwest Calgary prompts closure of Griffith Woods Park

Grizzly bear was spotted Monday by a cyclist and a jogger in the area. Griffith Woods Park is closed to the public as Fish and Wildlife attempt to trap and relocate the bear.

Fish and Wildlife says the bear was spotted Monday by both a cyclist and a jogger using the park

A rise in human encounters with bears could be in store for Kananaskis Country.
Griffith Woods Park in southwest Calgary was closed Tuesday due to the presence of a large grizzly bear, like the one shown in this file photo. (Rick Price Photography)

A large grizzly bear spotted in southwest Calgary has prompted the closure of Griffith Woods Park in the Discovery Ridge area.

According to Fish and Wildlife, the bear was spotted Monday by both a cyclist and a jogger using the park.

In one encounter, the cyclist startled the bear and it ran off. The jogger came within several metres of the bear before noticing its presence.

"Neither of which was a mauling or anything of that nature, they were just too close, so the bear is considered habituated," Fish and Wildlife officer Mark Hoskin said Tuesday night.

Fish and Wildlife have closed the park and set a "large culvert trap" in an attempt to catch the bear.

"Once we catch a bear, the bear is assessed for its general health, then based on that, a relocation that is appropriate to that animal is determined and we'll take it to a new location," Hoskin said.

The City of Calgary is working to notify nearby residents who back onto the woods about the bear's presence and how to avoid attracting the bear to their properties.

Danger to park user and bear

Matt Joosten, whose property back onto the park, said he's seen a lot of wildlife in the area, but was surprised to hear there was a bear so close to his home.

"We've been living here for four years and we've never seen a bear. Deer, a herd of coyotes, but never a bear," he said

Hoskin said it is now an offence to go into Griffith Woods Park and is asking the public to stay away as using the park could be dangerous to both the user and the bear.

"If there's a higher level negative interaction, that could be problematic for the bear and so we really ask that people respect that closure," he said.

Sightings can be reported to the 24-hour Report a Poacher line at 1-800-642-3800.

Signs were put up in Griffiths Woods in southwest Calgary warning users about a grizzly bear in the area. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

With files from Dan McGarvey