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A large black bear killed a Suncor Energy Inc. employee Wednesday while the individual was at the company's main oil sands operation.

While bear attacks are rare, it is important to remember how to react if you encounter one in the wild.

1. If you are walking in an area you suspect there may be bears, don't be afraid to make some noise. Talk, sing, jingle your keys. Let the bear know you are there.

2. It's also wise to carry bear pepper spray. Just remember, you need to be within seven metres of the bear for it to be effective.

3.Remain calm. Do not run. Stand still and talk to the bear in a calm voice. Arm your bear spray. If the bear does not get closer to you, slowly back away, talking to the bear in a quiet, monotone voice.

4. If the bear does not leave or approaches you, yell and wave your arms to make yourself look bigger. Throw objects, blow a whistle or an air horn. Do not run.

5. If the bear keeps advancing, and is getting close, stand your ground. Do not climb a tree. Black bears can climb trees easily.

6. If the bear continues its pursuit, react aggressively and try to intimidate the bear. Use your bear spray. If it attacks, do not play dead. Fight back with everything you have using anything you can find as a weapon.

TRISH McALASTER / THE GLOBE AND MAIL

SOURCES: MINISTRY OF NATURAL RESOURCES, PARKS CANADA

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