Naturalist Michael Runtz on recent bears in the 'burbs and what you should know
OTTAWA -- Michael Runtz spends a lot of time in Algonquin Park, where you would expect to see a bear.
The naturalist, author, and Carleton University professor spends less time in the suburbs where a bear visited, napped in a tree, and had a Barrhaven (or Bear-haven!) neighbourhood fixated this week.
“I have been exploring the park for 100 years,” jokes a youthful Runtz. “I have seen a lot of bears and have never felt threatened.”
In his new expanded edition of “The Explorer’s Guide to Algonquin Park”, he has a chapter dedicated black bears.
The black bear, who was big news, was tranquilized and relocated to the White Lake area by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) after spending a drowsy day in a Barrhaven back yard Monday.
It was the second suburban bear sighting in as many days. A black bear also took a Sunday morning stroll in Stittsville this week.
If the story had you asking what you should do if you encounter a bear or other wildlife like a coyote in the city or in the wild, Runtz offers these suggestions.
Practical advice from the respected naturalist, Michael Runtz, who encourages others to be wild about nature:
- Never feed a bear or coyote
- Make sure your yard is kept free of food leftovers, and that all garbage is kept in containers that cannot be accessed by animals
- If you live near bear habitat, take down your bird-feeders by spring
- Never approach a bear or coyote or any other wild animal that seems oddly tame
- If you are approached by a bear or coyote (which is a VERY RARE event), make loud noises to frighten the animal away, then report it to the local MNRF office or police
- Carry a whistle with you on walks if it makes you more comfortable
- Keep pets on a leash when walking in the woods
- Do not be afraid to go hiking in the woods; attacks by wild animals are exceedingly rare and, in fact, the odds of being in a car accident or having a serious accident at home far exceed those of having a bad experience with an animal in the woods!
You can learn more at Nature by Runtz on Facebook.