Parks Canada officials are reminding visitors to be careful in the mountain parks as the first grizzly bear of the year has been seen out of hibernation.

Parks officials released a photo and video of the bear, which was spotted by Mike Grande.

They say that bears, often the males, are out of hibernation no matter if there is snow on the ground or not.

They can be seen out as early as mid-March, but early-April is the average window when bears are waking up from their long winter’s nap.

Officials say that the bears are always very hungry when they come out of hibernation and concentrate on valley bottoms in their search for food. Unfortunately, that's the same area that people frequent due to the melting snow.

Parks Canada says that visitors should be careful about contact with bears and follow these guidelines:

  • Ensure pets are on a leash while out walking
  • Travel in groups and make noise while doing so
  • Have bear spray and know how to use it
  • Avoid encounters with bears whenever possible

Officials ask that park visitors report all bear sightings in Banff, Kootenay, and Yoho National Parks to the 24 hour dispatch line at 403-762-1470.