Mother bear spotted in Cleveland

By Gordon Lambie
Mother bear spotted in Cleveland

On Wednesday the municipality of Cleveland township issued a warning on their Facebook page about a bear with cubs that had been spotted in the vicinity of Brown Road, not far off route 116 near Toyota Richmond. Residents of the area are encouraged to be careful in wooded areas and to make lots of noise to keep the animals away. People with dogs were also encouraged to keep them on leash while out walking, as the smell of a dog could also discourage bears from getting too close.
Reached for comment about the situation, a municipal employee said that there was no more information about the mama bear available, and that the post was made in order to broadcast information shared by a resident of the area.
According to Quebec’s ministry of forests, wildlife and parks, the MFFP, there are approximately 800,000 black bears in North America, some 70,000 of which live in Quebec. The bears are known for their developed sense of smell and large appetites, the latter being the most common reason for interactions between the animals and their human neighbours.
Unlike their larger cousins, most of which are not native to the province, the ministry notes that black bears tend to flee from loud noises or unusual smells. They may react aggressively when surprised or approached.
The ministry information on black bears does also note, however, that black bears do sometimes attack without any apparent provocation and that the best strategy is to give them as much space as possible.
The public is encouraged to never intentionally feed bears, and to make sure that potentially edible items are kept out of their reach.
All wild animals are unique, and their response to people is unpredictable. Anyone who encounters a bear in the wild is encouraged by the MFFP to stay calm. If the animal is still at a distance, speak calmly so that the bear recognizes the presence of a human, and back away while maintaining visual contact. Avoid yelling or running, as this might encourage a chase, unless running will quickly get you to a safe place. If backing away from the bear does not succeed in calming it down, just keep going, in order to get as far away as possible.
Finally, if a bear is following you in an insistent manner, face the animal and try to look as large and imposing as possible. Wave your arms and speak in a loud voice. Hit nearby trees with a stick, if possible. Climbing a tree may offer temporary shelter, however the ministry cautions that black bears are able to climb trees if motivated.
Anyone who spots the bear in Cleveland is encouraged to call the municipality at 819-826-3546 extension 101.
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