Wildlife hazards

Terra Nova National Park

The chance of seeing wildlife is one of the most exciting things about visiting a national park. It is important to treat wild animals with respect. Approaching too closely threatens their survival. Once wildlife become accustomed to being around people, they are in danger of losing the very thing that makes them special – their wildness.

Your responsible behaviour affects the survival of wildlife and helps ensure your safety. By taking basic safety precautions for animals such as bears, moose, and coyotes, we can minimize the risks to human safety and ensure the animals in Terra Nova National Park remain wild. Wildness in this case means that these animals retain their natural fear of people.

Preventing conflicts

  • You can prevent animals from becoming conditioned to human food. Store your food, garbage, and dog food securely so that animals such as bears cannot gain access to it.
  • Never approach, entice, or feed wildlife.
  • Keep your dog on a leash. Don't leave dogs unattended outside. Dogs can attract wildlife and may be attacked.
  • Carefully supervise small children when they are playing outdoors.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings year-round.

Viewing wildlife

Watching a bear, moose or coyote can be a once-in-a lifetime experience. But it needs to be done from a safe distance.

  • Stay at least 100 metres (or 10 bus lengths) away.
  • If driving, pull safely onto the shoulder of the road, and stay in your vehicle.
  • Never entice an animal to come closer.
  • Use binoculars or a telephoto lens for a ‘close-up' look. 

If you encounter a bear

  • Stay calm and don't alarm the bear with screams or sudden movements. This will reassure the bear that you are not a predator.
  • Speak to the bear. Let the bear hear your voice -talk calmly and firmly. This lets the bear know you are human and not a prey animal. If a bear rears on its hind legs and waves its nose about, it is trying to identify you.
  • Back away slowly, NEVER run! Running may trigger a pursuit.
  • Make yourself less vulnerable. Pick up small children and stay in a group.
  • Don't drop your pack. It can provide protection.

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