B.C. has been socked in by smoke for the last month after wildfires raged across the province.
Temperatures have soared above 30 C for several days on end, creating hot and dry conditions.
At the Kicking Horse Grizzly Bear Refuge, the number one priority during this summer was to keep Golden’s celebrity resident safe and cool.
Boo the bear, has been treated to ice baths mixed with frozen grapes and berries. He’s also had food dropped from the gondola in his favourite spots such as one of his many forest pools.
The refuge is sending its thoughts and prayers toward all of the B.C. communities affected by wildfires and the families who have had to leave their homes.
“Our wildlife has also felt these effects with their own homes and forests being burnt. It is important to keep in mind that as animals such as bears, elk and bighorn sheep flee the fires they may end up moving closer into densely populated human-use areas where they may come in contact with humans they would normally avoid,” said the refuge.
With more than 80 per cent of the province reaching Level 4 or 5 drought conditions, the highest possible rankings, birds, bats, insects and other wildlife are also feeling the changes in the environment, according to Kimberly Stephens, the hospital manager for the Wildlife Rescue Association of BC. Stephens said wildfires often drive wildlife into new environments, which may mean more competition with other animals who have already established their territory there.
“Climate change is definitely taking a toll on wildlife, causing them to have to learn to adapt to different temperatures, different resources and different habitats than they’ve been used to,” said Stephens.
The Grizzly Bear Refuge reminds residents to be mindful of wildfire during this time and continue to aim to keep a respectful and safe distance from them.