Nature for Newcomers
WildSmart

Nature for Newcomers

Nature for Newcomers is a program to provide New Canadians, Newcomers and English as a second language residents and visitors with information on wildlife safety in their language through online materials, print resources as well as outreach programs.

Wildlife safety workshops and field trips to learn more about wildlife safety, bear spray and recreating safely in nature will be provided.

To sign up for a program in your language contact:

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What is Bear Spray?

Bear Spray SignBear Spray canIt is a non-lethal aerosol spray made with pepper that can be used to deter a bear from attacking you. It causes temporary blindness and can incapacitate the animal.

Where can I get Bear Spray?

You can rent bear spray at "Gearup Mountain Sport and Rentals" or purchase at local sport stores.

Sign up for a bear safety course in
Spanish, French, Tagalog
Contact:

Learn how to use bear spray

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Living Smart with Bears

Many people live and visit bear country and never see a bear. It is however important to know how to avoid encounters with bears and what to do if you run into one.

Avoid Bear Encounters

Photos courtesy of Alberta Parks unless otherwise noted.

Handling an ENCOUNTER

Most encounters with bears end without injury. If the bear is unaware of your presence – leave the area in the direction you came.

If the bear is aware of your presence and does not leave, be non-threatening – speak calmly, don’t yell. Stay calm and back away slowly – DON’T RUN.

If the bear closes distance on you – even after you have tried to retreat, such behavior could be considered curious, indifferent or predatory.

If the bear continues closing distance – make yourself large, stand your ground and talk firmly to the bear.

Handling an ATTACK

You may increase your chance of survival by following these guidelines. In general, there are 2 kinds of attacks:

1. Defensive Attack

The bear is protecting a carcass, protecting its young and/or is surprised by your presence. It attacks because you are perceived as a threat. Remember bears will often bluff charge.

Be non-threatening – don’t run or yell. Stay calm and back away slowly.

Use your bear spray if bear approaches you.

If the bear makes contact with you: PLAY DEAD!

Drop to the ground face down, interlace your fingers over the back of your neck and spread your legs to make it more difficult for the bear to turn you over. By playing dead the bear will likely lose interest in you and leave. Defensive attacks are generally less than two minutes in duration. If the attack continues, it may mean the attack has shifted from defensive to non-defensive (i.e. predatory) - in this case fight back!

2. Non- defensive Attack

The bear is aware of your presence, has time to leave but continues closing distance on you – even after you have tried to retreat. This behaviour could be considered curious, indifferent or predatory.

Use your bear spray. DO NOT PLAY DEAD and FIGHT BACK!

Intimidate the bear: shout; hit it with a branch or rock, do whatever it takes to let the bear know you are not easy prey.

If you're planning an outdoor adventure, remember that you are traveling in bear country.

Report bear sightings to
403.591.7755

For all public safety emergencies,
call 9-1-1

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Living Smart with Cougars

Cougars, though rarely seen, are residents in the Bow Valley. The information below will help you stay safe.

Avoid Cougar Encounters

Photos courtesy of Alberta Parks unless otherwise noted.

Handling an ENCOUNTER

Handling an ATTACK

Report cougar sightings to
403.591.7755

For all public safety emergencies,
call 9-1-1

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Living Smart with Elk

Avoid Elk Encounters

Elk are commonly seen in the Bow Valley. The information below will help you stay safe.

Photos courtesy of Parks Canada.

Handling an ATTACK

Report aggressive elk encounters to
403.591.7755

For all public safety emergencies,
call 9-1-1

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