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Bear Aware!

Safety Alert Type: 
Wildlife encounter
Location: 
near Tumbler Ridge
Date of Incident / Close Call: 
2019-06-24
Company Name: 
CANFOR
Details of Incident / Close Call: 

An experienced hiker and Canfor summer student was mauled by a bear near Tumbler Ridge, luckily escaping serious injury.

In the individual's words,  “… as I turned to reach for my bear spray I noticed the bear cub...I looked back to see where the mother was and in that span of 2 seconds she had already covered 15m towards me. I dropped to the ground and protected my belly along a log. The second I hit the ground she was on top of me. She pounced on me pushing me into the ground several times and then sniffed around my head before she walked away back to her cub.”

Potential Hazards:

  • Encountering a bear with cubs, food or territory it wants to defend
  • Noisy Site Conditions – It is harder for a bear to smell or hear you if it’s raining and/or you’re working in thick brush, into the wind or along a stream
  • Encountering attractants – food, garbage or carrion
  • Working alone – less intimidating to dangerous animals than group

 

Learnings and Suggestions: 
  • Watch for signs of bears – fresh scratches high up on tree, fresh kill, diggings and bear dung
  • Carry bear spray on your body at all times and ensure it has not expired and has been stored properly (above -10*C and below 50*C)
  • Work in pairs in areas with high bear activity
  • Make lots of noise to avoid surprising a bear. Talking or singing loudly can be more effective than bear bells and whistles
  • Make more noise if the situation could result in a bear not being able to smell or hear you (If raining, brushy, you are working into the wind or near a flowing stream)
  • If you identify a bear kill site or very recent bear activity, leave the block and don’t return for a few days
  • Know how to identify a grizzly from a black bear and understand behavior that signals different types of attack and how to respond www.bearsmart.com/work/overview
  • If you encounter a bear, keep your eye on the bear and turn your back as little as possible as you move away
  • Communicate bear sightings or aggressive behaviour to others.

 

For more information on this submitted alert: 

Kori Vernier at kori.vernier@canfor.com

 

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