Elk Island National Park

Black Bears

Issued: May 10, 2022

Bears are extremely sensitive to the stress of human activity. Help protect these animals by avoiding encounters with them. Be bear aware:

Make noise and be visible. Hike with a friend or in a group. Alert animals by making noise. A surprised bear might react aggressively to defend itself, its young or a food source.

Stay alert. Be aware of surroundings and avoid using headphones. Never leave children unattended.

Cyclists and runners move fast and have a greater chance of surprising a bear. Go slow when rounding blind corners and do not wear ear buds.

Keep dogs on a leash. Pets cause wildlife stress and dogs can provoke bears. Keep them under control and physically restrained at all times.

Do not feed or entice wildlife. Store all food, garbage and scented items when not in use. Deposit garbage in designated garbage bins.

Never leave food or scented items unattended. Leaving any food or scented items unattended, even for a few minutes, puts visitors and wildlife at risk.

Hike and cycle in groups. Recreate in groups of four or more. Larger group sizes are less likely to have a serious bear encounter.

Carry bear spray at all times and know how to use it. Bear spray can be effective when used properly. Be aware that wind, spray distance, rain, freezing temperatures and product shelf life can all influence its effectiveness. Become familiar with the proper use of bear spray (including the manufacturer’s specific instructions) and keep it readily accessible.

*If a bear is beside the road, do not stop. If a bear is beside the road, it is likely eating or looking for food. Remember, a fed bear is a dead bear*

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