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Grizzly notice issued in Whistler

RMOW, COS roll out new response plan as grizzly sightings explode
A grizzly bear is reportedly roaming the "western outskirts" of Whistler.

As summer-like temperatures return to Whistler this week, so too do the grizzlies: according to the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) and the Conservation Officer Service, a grizzly is currently "on the western outskirts of Whistler."

Signs posted on trails in the Meadow Park area urge the public to exercise caution.

As grizzly sightings explode in the region—the Sea to Sky recorded 125 grizzly calls in 2023, up from 28 in 2022—the RMOW and COS are rolling out a revised response and communications strategy this year.

In this case, officials want the public to be aware of the grizzly, but don't view it as a serious danger at this point, an RMOW communications official said.

"The alert and signage are informational so people know to be aware and start to educate themselves on proper bear protocol. Our approach is to put up the website alert information first, layer on social, so people see it, and, in this case, we also leveraged our e-newsletter blast as it was going out [May 9]," they said.

"Our role here is to be a good partner and support for the COS as is our commitment as a BearSmart community, which means we need to provide the information immediately, when notified—as was done. We will continue to watch our analytics ... to ensure we are definitely getting the message out and will make adjustments as needed and recommended by the COS."

If urgency is necessary, there will be "boots-on-the-ground officers ensuring that gets done—COS and possibly RCMP," they said. "For now, what we’d like the public to know is that there’s a bear in the area and it’s time to reacquaint themselves with proper bear protocol—which they can find here."

From the RMOW's perspective, grizzlies will be part of life in Whistler moving forward as long as we have a healthy ecosystem, the official added.