Hiking tips

Police report sighting a bear in Kanata; safety tips for bear encounters

Bear attacks are rare. You are more likely to be struck by lightning, according to the National Capital Commission.

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Ottawa police said Saturday they were monitoring the area around Teron Road and Best Way in Kanata after a bear was spotted there.

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“Police are in the area and residents are asked to be cautious if a bear is encountered,” a police statement said.

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Residents can call the Ottawa Police Service at 613-236-1222 or 911 if a bear threatens their safety.

Black bears are found in forested areas of Ontario. They generally avoid people, but are attracted to food and are more likely to approach people when food is scarce.

Bear attacks are rare. You are more likely to be struck by lightning, according to the National Capital Commission.

In Gatineau Park, one of the region’s most popular hiking destinations, there have been no incidents of people being attacked by bears in the past 10 to 15 years, according to Maryam El-Akhrass, NCC spokesperson.

However, last year there were two instances in Gatineau Park where black bears intimidated visitors by making false charges or stomping, she said.

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With many people planning hikes in the woods this Thanksgiving weekend, here are some safety tips on how to avoid bears and what to do if you encounter one, courtesy of National Capital Commission and the Ontario government:

Make noise: Bears don’t like surprises. So if you’re in the forest, sing, whistle or talk if you’re in an area with reduced visibility or an area with a lot of background noise like wind or waterfalls. Travel in groups.

Keep your dog on a leash: If you are in the countryside where there may be bears, do not let your dog loose. A bear responding to a dog may launch a defensive attack on people, or a dog chased by a bear may return the animal to its owner.

Never approach a bear: At all times, you must give the bear the opportunity to escape,” says the NCC. Never get between a mother bear and her cubs. Don’t attract a bear with the smell of food. And leave the area if you see signs of a bear, such as droppings, torn logs, and overturned rocks.

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Know the signs of angry bears: Black bears sometimes stand on their hind legs and sniff, but this is not a sign of aggression, although they will growl a little. They are just trying to see better and feel better. There are warning signs that a bear “doesn’t want you in its territory,” the NCC adds. Be careful if a bear: chatters its teeth; making loud blowing, blowing, moaning, popping, and popping noises; salivate excessively; lowering head with ears back; charging forward or hitting the ground with its paws in a “bluffing” charge or hitting objects with its paws.

If a bear attacks: Do not run or climb a tree. Do not kneel or make direct eye contact. And don’t play dead unless you’re sure it’s a bear protecting her cubs. To defend oneself. “Struggle, scream, hit the bear with a rock, stick or paddle,” says the NCC. “Fight with everything you have,” advises the Ontario government’s tip sheet. This increases the chances of the bear leaving.

Obvious, but worth repeating: Do not approach a bear for a better view or to take a photo. Do not feed the bears.

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