Bear spotted in Bowmanville conservation area


Published June 8, 2022 at 2:50 pm

A black bear (not this one) has been spotted in Long Sault.

A bear has been spotted in Bowmanville’s Long Sault Conservation area, prompting a warning from the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority (CLOCA).

Despite the rare sightings, CLOCA notes the area remains safe to visit as long as people remain “bear-wise” and remain cautious in the woods.

CLOCA advises hikers to remain vigilant while in the woods and to bring a buddy along in possible. Always keep children in sight and dogs on a leash while heading through the forest. It’s also important to make noise once in a while so the bears know to steer clear.

Food is of particular concern to CLOCA. They advise anyone out in the forest to double bag their snacks and to bring a scraps and wrappers out with them.

“Leaving even ‘harmless’ items like apple cores teaches bears to associate trails with food,” CLOCA said. However they note black bears are “seldom aggressive and attacks are rare.

If anyone does run into a bear CLOCA advises residents to slowly back away while keeping the creature in sight. Then simply wait for the bear to move on. If carrying any food, drop it as you back away.

If continues to linger make some noise, throw rocks or sticks around and wave your arms. Hikers should have bear spray on them and if the bear sticks around have it on hand to use.

Bear spray contains highly irritant capsaicin which causes tearing and difficulty breathing. It won’t permanently harm the bear, but has been found to deter 92 per cent of attacks by Alaskan researchers.

Users flick back a safety switch on the top of the canister, aim downwards toward the bear and downwind. If necessary spray at the bear in 2 second bursts if it gets with in 10 feet.

If a bear is spotted near a building or car, hop inside as soon as you can. However do not run from the bear. Climbing trees or swimming away are also big no-nos. Bears are much better climbers and swimmers than people are.

Speaking of climbing, leave any bears found in trees well alone. Just leave area and it’ll come down and leave when it’s safe.

Do not crouch or bend down around a black bear, in fact make yourself as large as possible to scare it off. Avoid eye contact and do not try to get a closer look.

Another thing to avoid is playing dead. That is for brown bears which do not live in Ontario. However there’s an exception if attacked by a mother bear defending her cubs. Definitely play dead in that case.

If the bear does come in for an attack, fight back. However this is highly unlikely from black bears, which are actually fairly timid. There’s an average of less than one attack per year across North America.

North American Bear Centre founder Dr. Lynn Rodgers wrote that 61 people have been killed by black bears since 1900.


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