Friday, August 26, 2011

Bear sightings have park staff on alert

By Kristen Smith The Enterprise Bulletin

Posted 19 hours ago
Wasaga Beach Provincial Park staff have received about seven reports of bear sightings over the summer.
Park superintendent John Fisher says some sightings have been outside the provincial park and park staff has put up signs.
"We tend to work with town officials just to make sure that there's up-to-date information available to the public," said Fisher.
Fisher says an important thing to do to avoid a run-in with a bear is keep your dog on a leash, particularly in forested areas.
"There are times where dogs can actually smell a bear, chase the bear down and when things get a little too excited, they run back to the owner for protection and can lead a beer right to the owner," said Fisher.
He says its also important to make lots of noise and travel in groups.
"So far, from what we've seen, the black bears have certainly exhibited all the right behaviours in terms of their fear of people, which is a healthy thing," said Fisher. "As long as they stay fearful of people and people don't try to do things like feed the bear or make sure that their garbage is well protected, then we shouldn't have any problems."
Fisher says the area is part of black bears' original habitat, but they were pushed out by development.
"There has been a lot of focus on contiguous protected areas," said Fisher. "We have corridors that follow river valleys and things like that, which is land that can't be developed for various reasons. There is habitat for them to move through the area."
Fisher says no park staff has seen a black bear, and he pointed out the sightings reported by the public could very well be of the same bear.

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