With spring in the air and temperatures warming, bears are emerging from hibernation.
According to Conservation Officer Greg Johnson, there have been several sightings in Saskatchewan already this year.
“Because we had such a cold spring, I’m not sure that they’re wandering around much yet,” Johnson said. “I haven’t heard of any relocations as of yet. A couple of sightings, but that’s normal.”
During this time of year, bears and other predators are coming out of hibernation and beginning to roam their established territory, Johnson said. Bears are generally opportunistic during the spring, he said, and will devour plants as well as the remains of dead animals. Because weather conditions were good last summer, and with mild winters in recent years, Johnson said he believes the bear population is healthy.
In northern Saskatchewan, Johnson said black bears are the only species people are likely to encounter. Unless they are hungry or hurt, black bears generally aren’t aggressive unless they’ve been habituated by humans, he added. If anyone encounters a bear in the wild, Johnson said it's important not to panic.
“The best thing to do is stay calm [and] don’t run,” he said. “As soon as you run, you kind of enact their predator response. Make a wide detour, calmly back away, speak in low tones and don’t look directly at the bear.”
Johnson also suggested moving behind a tree or rock and, if you need to quickly get away, throwing articles of clothing to distract the bear. He said no matter what happens, never play dead if attacked.
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