Making a lot of noise and travelling in groups may be the key to avoiding bears on the trails this summer.
That’s according to BearSmart Wood Buffalo who say the best thing to do if you do run into one – is to remain calm, never turn your back and slowly leave the way you came.
Program Manager Christine Lambert tells Mix News it’s also important to teach yourself how to handle bear spray.
“You should carry it at all times. Preventing a bear encounter is obviously first priority but sometimes they occur, and you want to be prepared and have the tool to protect yourself if the encounter becomes an attack.”
Lambert adds if you’d like lessons on how to use bear spray – you can contact BearSmart Wood Buffalo.
She also encourages hikers to travel in packs.
“Even if you are alone or with friends, just make sure you use your voice through singing or talking and just using that noise of human voice to alert bears nearby that you are approaching it and it will usually just stay out of your way.”
In 2017, 34 bears were caught in the region and were either relocated or euthanized.
If you see a bear you’re encouraged to call Fort McMurray Fish and Wildlife or the Report a Poacher hotline at 1-800-642-3800.