A couple and their dog were killed on the weekend in a grizzly bear attack in the wilderness of Banff National Park in Alberta. Here’s a look at how to avoid an encounter in bear country:
Call out, clap, sing or talk loudly near streams, dense forest or berry patches, on windy days or in areas of low visibility.
Watch for fresh bear signs
Tracks, droppings, diggings, torn-up logs, turned-over rocks or a large dead animal could all be signs that a bear has been in the area. Leave the area.
Keep dog on leash or leave at home
Dogs can provoke defensive behaviour in bears.
Travel in groups
Research has shown groups of four or more are less likely to have a serious bear encounter.
Stay on trails
Use officially marked trails and travel during daylight hours.
Pay attention to surroundings
Do not wear headphones or earbuds on the trails.
Carry bear spray, know how to use it
Bear spray can be effective with some bears when used properly. Keep your backpack, poles and other equipment that could provide protection.
Stay calm if you encounter a bear
Screams or sudden movements can trigger an attack. Don’t run. Pick up small children and stay in a group. Speak to the bear calmly and firmly. Back away slowly.
Source: Parks Canada/Alberta Parks