- The Ministry of Forest, Fauna, and Parks (MFFP) says black bears are beginning to wake from hibernation in Quebec.
- On Facebook and its website, the MFFP has some tips to keep the bears out of your neighbourhoods and protect you in case you encounter one.
Spring is in full swing in Quebec and that means that black bears are starting to wake up from hibernation. To keep you and them safe, the Ministry of Forest, Fauna, and Parks of Quebec (MFFP) offered some advice to keep them out of your area. As several of them are rubbing a long winter's sleep from their eyes, it's important to know what you should do if you encounter a hungry, sleepy bear.
According to the MFFP, "some bears may venture close to walking trails or residential areas if they locate an easily accessible food source."
If you live in a heavily wooded area, you're going to have to pay extra attention to where you put your garbage, compost, and food scraps, the Ministry says. A recently hibernated bear is a hungry bear.
Imagine how hungry you feel after a long sleep. Now imagine that hunger after being asleep for three months. With their keen sense of smell, bears traverse miles to hunt for food.
Black bears rarely attack humans and instead prefer berries, insects, or fish. When pressed, they won't be shy to rummage through your trash like an overgrown raccoon.
Roughly 800,000 black bears live in North America, with about 70,000 living in Quebec. While cute, they need to be given a respectful distance, the Ministry advises.
Black bears are the only kind of bear you're likely to encounter in Quebec unless you live in the far north.
They have a healthy fear of humans, though, retreating when they see or smell us. Black bears shouldn't be approached or fed, especially when they have bear cubs in tow, the MFFP warns.
The MFFP says that the best way to prevent black bears from entering your neighbourhoods is to:
Never feed them.
Store food and garbage out of their reach.
Reduce food and garbage odours.
If you've managed to keep them off your property and instead encounter a black bear on a hike, there are a few things you must be keenly aware of.
First, the Ministry says you must stay calm. If the bear is being aggressive, slowly back away from it and never take your eyes from it.
Don't run and if the bear "follows you persistently," in the words of the Ministry, try to look as imposing as possible by making loud noises, waving a stick in the air or hitting some trees.
"Black bears have very different personalities: each encounter with this animal is unique. At all times, remember that bears are wild animals with unpredictable behaviour."