[ARCHIVE] Warning: be bear aware

November 15, 2011


The Burnaby Mountain campus location is prime black bear habitat, and bears are particularly active right now as they seek food to fatten up for winter hibernation.

There were 12 sightings on the Burnaby campus from Nov. 1-15, including a cub dubbed Simon that was tranquilized and safely removed to a Langley shelter. Report bear sightings on campus to Campus Security at 778-782-3100 (BEAR).

Whether you're travelling on a mountain trail or a community road, you may encounter a black bear. In most situations bears are predictable, and they are naturally shy and submissive animals.

Understanding the following important "bear smart" tips will help keep bear encounters positive and free from conflict:

  • Dispose of garbage properly. Bears' keen sense of smell can detect food from a considerable distance. Simon was attracted by pumpkins, garbage and even ice-cream sundaes carelessly left on townhouse porches.
  • Avoid, avoid, avoid. If you see a bear in the distance, respect its need for personal space. Do not approach it, even to get a photo, and give it as much room as possible.
  • Travel in groups. Shout loudly from time to time to let a bear know you are there so it can avoid you.
  • Remain calm. If you encounter a bear, back away slowly while facing the bear. Talk in a low, calm voice to the bear so it can identify you as human and nonthreatening.
  • If a bear approaches you, speak firmly and hold your ground. Face the bear and look directly at it.
  • If a black bear becomes persistent, act aggressively and continue to stand your ground. Look it straight in the eyes and let it know you will fight if attacked. Shout!
  • If you have pepper spray, prepare it for use. Do not play dead. Do not run. The bear may bluff charge.
  • If a black bear attacks, fight back with any weapon you can find including stones or branches.

For more info from the Bear Smart Society:

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