People and Bears Can Live Together:

Black bears are active from mid-March to November. Their constant search for new food sources may draw them into Lantzville’s urban areas, often coming in contact with humans. Seeing a bear in its natural habitat can be a memorable experience but please respect and help protect our bears. Be ‘bear smart’ and follow these few, simple guidelines to ensure any encounters with bears are positive and free from conflict.

How can I be bear smart?
Be prepared! Learn as much as you can about bear behaviour before venturing into bear country. Bears are predictable. This trait can be beneficial to people if they come into contact with bears. Recognizing and understanding bear postures and vocalizations will help you avoid a negative experience.

Never feed a bear, either intentionally or unintentionally by not disposing of garbage in a bear-proof container. Bears have a keen sense of smell and can detect the aroma of a barbecue or picnic from a considerable distance.

How close is too close?
Every bear defends their own ‘personal space’. Just like people, that space varies from one bear to another and depends on the situation and circumstances. If you enter into a bear’s personal space, you have forced the bear to act – either to run away or defend their space.

Are bear attacks on humans common?
Bears are generally peaceful animals that show considerable restraint. Nonetheless, they are powerful and physically capable of injuring or killing people. What is remarkable is these tragic events happen so rarely. Although wild bears prefer to avoid people, habituated or urban bears are very tolerant of people. Each year countless interactions occur between people and bears without harm. A meeting, a mutual departure, no attacks, no injury … no news.

Bears & People Living in Harmony
Problem bears are not born, they are the product of human indifference and carelessness. Bears sometimes become a problem when they become conditioned to garbage and fruit trees as a food source. Once a bear has tasted human food or garbage, the bear will return again and again for an easy meal

What should you do if you see a bear?

  • Remain calm, never approach a bear for any reason
  • Back away slowly – facing the bear
  • Never run, running can invoke a chase
  • Be predictable – don’t surprise a bear
  • Talk quietly so the bear can identify you as human, and continue to back up

If a bear approaches …

  • Don’t panic!
  • Speak firmly and wave arms or a stick above your head to make your presence bigger
  • If the bear becomes persistent, stand your ground and prepare to use your deterrent. Do not play dead. Seek the safety of a secure building or car, if possible. The bear may bluff charge. If a black bear attacks, fight back with any weapon you can find including stones, branches.

Last Modified: Jun 19, 2017
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Photos: © Gordon Howe