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Bears on the prowl in B.C.: Here's how to stay safe

Tuesday, April 14th 2020, 12:14 pm - They're awake and they're hungry. Here's how to keep safe if you run into a bear.

Check out the video above, featuring footage from my security camera taken in my neighbourhood in Squamish, B.C.

You can see a black bear carrying a garbage bag down the street and then sitting down to eat from it.

"It's a little alarming seeing a bear," says neighbour Mark Barrett.

"We're in a neighbourhood group chat and we were all alerting each other about the bear and ... making sure we were taking precautions like bringing in our organics."

So why are bears roaming the streets?

For starters, they're awake after a long winter of hibernating. Now, they're looking for food.

Because of that, my walks with my dog look a little different now, because I'm armed with bear spray and a bear horn.

But one of the best things you can do to avoid a bear is to walk in groups which is something we can't do if we're practicing social distancing. So how do we steer clear of bears in the age of COVID-19?

Mike Badry, B.C.'s wildlife conflict manager, says one of the best things you can do is make sure the bear knows you're there.

Be extra loud near streams or rivers that could drown out your sound, and if that doesn't keep the bears away he says you should be using bear spray.

If you encounter a bear, stay calm and don't turn around and run -- but Mike says the best thing to do is try to avoid contact altogether by being aware of your surroundings.

Places with lots of berries are prime spots for bears, and always be on the lookout for tracks.

Thumbnail image courtesy: Wikipedia

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