That’s not Yo­gi Bear out there

Le Reflet (The News) - - LA UNE - GREGG CHAMBERLAIN gregg.chamberlain@eap.on.ca

This year has seen at least one wan­de­ring bear si­tua­tion in the Pres­cott-Rus­sell re­gion. Close-en­coun­ter in­ci­dents in other parts of On­ta­rio have promp­ted the Mi­nis­try of Na­tu­ral Re­sources to re-is­sue its Be Bear Wise ad­vice for cam­ping pam­phlet through email alerts to me­dia.

The main point the pam­phlet em­pha­sizes is that anyone cam­ping in ei­ther pro­vin­cial or na­tio­nal parks in On­ta­rio or in any other fo­res­ted area of the pro­vince should learn how to re­co­gnize bear ac­ti­vi­ty where they are by re­co­gni­zing bear tracks, scat or drop­pings, or claw marks on a tree trunk where a bear has mar­ked its ter­ri­to­ry. On­ta­rio is home to black bears, which are smal­ler than the grizz­lies na­tive to Wes­tern Ca­na­da, but which can be just as dan­ge­rous un­der the wrong cir­cum­stances.

Get in­for­ma­tion about whe­ther or not bears are lo­cal to a cam­ping area. Heed any war­nings pos­ted about bear ac­ti­vi­ty in the area. That in­cludes kee­ping a camp­site clean and as odour-free as pos­sible to avoid at­trac­ting any bears loo­king for food. Clean any fish caught du­ring a cam­ping trip well away from the camp site and throw the guts in­to the lake or ri­ver. Do not bu­ry them. Bears have a good sense of smell and will dig up the site then go look around for more food near­by.

All food should be double- or tri­ple­bag­ged and kept in se­cure and air-tight co­ol- ers which are kept away from the slee­ping area, whe­ther it is a tent or a cam­per. Best to bring a long rope to tie around a co­oler and hang it up in a tree out of reach of a bear. An RV should have an air­tight fridge or free­zer unit in­side for sto­ring meats and other foods which can pro­duce a smell that would at­tract bears. Burn any food scraps and fat drip­pings in an open fire.

When hi­king, keep chil­dren with the adults and any dogs on a leash. Do not let dogs run loose. If they find a bear, they may end up brin­ging it back with them if they an­noy it. Al­so, do not wear per­fume or strong co­logne, as the scent may at­tract a bear.

Car­ry a whistle, air horn, or bell, and use it eve­ry now and then while out hi­king. A bear will avoid hu­mans if it has a chance to do so. When mee­ting a bear by sur­prise on the trail, do not run. Ins­tead back away slow and stea­dy, while kee­ping quiet and wat­ching the bear to see what it does.

Pack se­ve­ral bear spray ca­nis­ters, and make sure to know how to use it, if ne­ces­sa­ry, but do not re­ly on bear spray to drive a bear away. Bear spray can dis­tract or de­ter a bear and al­low the user time to get away from the area.

Both adults and chil­dren need to un­ders­tand that a bear is a wild ani­mal, not so­me­thing safe to ap­proach close for tou­ching or a pho­to op­por­tu­ni­ty.

For more ad­vice, in­clu­ding up­da­ted in­for­ma­tion on park or wil­der­ness areas with bear sigh­ting ad­vi­so­ries, go to www.on­ta­rio. ca/bear­wise or phone 1-866-514-2327.

—pho­to ar­chives

Cette an­née a vu au moins une si­tua­tion d’ours er­rante dans la ré­gion de Pres­cott-Rus­sell. Les in­ci­dents de proxi­mi­té dans d’autres par­ties de l’On­ta­rio ont in­ci­té le mi­nis­tère des Ri­chesses na­tu­relles à re­mettre en cause ses conseils Be Bear Wise pour le pam­phlet de cam­ping par cour­rier élec­tro­nique aux mé­dias.

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