Dear Members,

We have received two messages from residents regarding black bear sightings on Friday, one on Echo Valley Drive and the other on Harrow Gate.

Although Black Bear sightings are not uncommon, it’s a good reminder that we live with wildlife and to remain vigilant.

As you know, Bear are attracted by garbage and it is an important practice to keep your garbage inside your home until the day of collection.

The following are best practices for bear and cougar encounters.

If you spot a bear:

  • Identify yourself
  • Stay calm and remember that most bears do not want to attack you; they usually just want to be left alone. Bears may bluff their way out of an encounter by charging and then turning away at the last second. Bears may also react defensively by woofing, yawning, salivating, growling, snapping their jaws, and laying their ears back. Continue to talk to the bear in low tones; this will help you stay calmer, and it won’t be threatening to the bear. A scream or sudden movement may trigger an attack. Never imitate bear sounds or make a high-pitched squeal.
  • Pick up small children immediately.
  • Hike and travel in groups. Groups of people are usually noisier and smellier than a single person. Therefore, bears often become aware of groups of people at greater distances, and because of their cumulative size, groups are also intimidating to bears.
  • Make yourselves look as large as possible (for example, move to higher ground).
  • Do NOT allow the bear access to your food. Getting your food will only encourage the bear and make the problem worse for others.
  • Do NOT drop your pack as it can provide protection for your back and prevent a bear from accessing your food.
  • If the bear is stationary, move away slowly and sideways; this allows you to keep an eye on the bear and avoid tripping. Moving sideways is also non-threatening to bears. Do NOT run, but if the bear follows, stop and hold your ground. Bears can run as fast as a racehorse both uphill and down. -Like dogs, they will chase fleeing animals. Do NOT climb a tree. Both grizzlies and black bears can climb trees.
  • Leave the area or take a detour. If this is impossible, wait until the bear moves away. Always leave the bear an escape route.
  • Be especially cautious if you see a female with cubs; never place yourself between a mother and her cub, and never attempt to approach them. The chances of an attack escalate greatly if she perceives you as a danger to her cubs.
  • Further to the foregoing, we have been requested by Ministry of Environment officials to remind staff and residents that bears are attracted by food.  For extra safety, please be remindful, and remind family, friends and work colleagues, that it is critical to leave all waste food or food products stored indoors and not in outside garbage containers.
  • And when hiking or in the forest, make noise and they will generally avoid you. Try to never come upon them unexpectedly. The animals have been here longer than we have and have caused little difficulty through the years that we are aware of, but extra caution living or working on the edge of the forest should always be foremost in our minds.

If you should encounter a cougar, it is recommended to:

  • Stay calm and stand your ground.
  • Maintain direct eye contact.
  • Pick up any children, but do so without bending down or turning your back on the cougar.
  • Back away slowly.
  • Do not run. Running triggers a chase response in cougars, which could lead to an attack.
  • Raise your voice and speak firmly.
  • If the cougar seems aggressive, raise your arms to make yourself look larger and clap your hands.
  • If in the very unusual event that a cougar attacks you, fight back with rocks, sticks, tools or any other items available.

Regards,

BMCA
Directors