A look at how to avoid a bear encounter after fatal attack in Banff National Park

How to avoid bears

A couple and their dog were killed on the weekend in a grizzly bear attack in the wilderness of Banff National Park in Alberta. Here's a look at how to avoid an encounter in bear country:

Make noise: Call out, clap, sing or talk loudly near streams, dense forest or berry patches, on windy days or in areas of low visibility.

Watch for fresh bear signs: Tracks, droppings, diggings, torn-up logs, turned-over rocks or a large dead animal could all be signs that a bear has been in the area. Leave the area.

Keep your dog on a leash or leave it at home: Dogs can provoke defensive behaviour in bears.

Travel in groups: Research has shown groups of four or more are less likely to have a serious bear encounter.

Stay on the trails: Use officially marked trails and travel during daylight hours.

Pay attention to your surroundings: Do not wear headphones or earbuds on the trails.

Carry bear spray and know how to use it: Bear spray can be effective with some bears when used properly. Keep your backpack, poles and other equipment that could provide protection handy.

Try to stay calm if you do encounter a bear: Screams or sudden movements can trigger an attack. Don't run. Pick up small children and stay in a group. Speak to the bear calmly and firmly. Back away slowly.

Source: Parks Canada/Alberta Parks

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