Parks Canada urges tourists to avoid getting close to bears
Visitors to Cape Breton Highlands National Park are trying to get friendlier with local bears, and that’s proving to be a problem. Park staff have been noticing an increase of traffic stopping to look at bears – causing what they often refer to as “bear jams”.
“We have seen bears very close to the shoulder of the road and people are stopping,” said Erich Muntz, Visitor Safety Coordinator for Parks Canada.
In some cases, park visitors approaching these wild animals are also attempting to feed them. Muntz said this activity is against both park rules and the law. Anyone caught feeding wildlife in a Canadian national park can face a first offence fine of at least $5000.
Another complication with bear jams is that some bears are also mothers with their cubs. Muntz has said that the mothers can become unpredictable in this situation.
Park staff have been increasing patrol on the Cabot Trail, particularly on the western side where most of the bear jams are occurring.
There are currently no reported injuries from park visitors interacting with the bears.