Alberta Fish and Wildlife wants to remind you to stay aware of bears as we head into summer.
An estimated 40,000 black bears are in Alberta and are a common sighting in the RMWB.
Posts about bear encounters have been circulating on Facebook recently, and Fish and Wildlife are reminding residents to familiarize themselves with bear knowledge.
If you notice a bear, but it does not notice you, you should back away while keeping your eye on the bear in case of movement.
“If the bear does see you, generally their reaction is going to be to run away,” says Tyler Murphy, an officer with Fish and Wildlife.
“They don’t usually want to be in the presence of people.”
If they do take an interest in you, you should make yourself look big, such as raising your arms and making loud noises.
You should try to make it to a safe place and give the bear lots of room to leave the area.
Bear spray is commonly used as a deterrent, and often seen as very effective.
Fish and Wildlife want to remind users to practice with bear deterrents ahead of a possible first encounter.
They also want to warn about the possibility of bear bangers catching a spark on dry material.
If you encounter a bear within the community, on walking trails, or in your travels, you can call Fish and Wildlife during office hours at 780-743-7200. There is also a 24-hour line which can be reached at 1-800-642-3800.
In emergency situations, such as an attack, you are encouraged to call the RCMP at 911.
Bears tend to be more active during early morning hours and later evening hours, as well as, within trail systems, like the Birchwood Trails, or along other green areas.
Different attractants will bring bears into residential areas, but many tend to be a food supply for the bears.
“Bears only think with their stomach, that’s all they are thinking about, is eating all the time,” says Murphy.
“They’re constantly on the search for food.”
The most common attractants for bears are:
- Garbage and recycling
- Fruit trees, berry bushes (whether natural or planted)
- Bird feeders
- Pet food
“Some folks will feed their dogs, they’ll leave food out for the day when they’re gone to work,” said Murphy.
Prevention methods for encounters include removing bear attractants or keeping them contained within your property.
Those who are looking for more information can visit rmwb.ca/bearsmart.