HERON BAY – Parks Canada staff and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources Conservation Officers have located and destroyed a female bear approximately two kilometres from the site of the August 5, 2011 incident during which a park visitor was injured by a lone adult black bear in the park’s backcountry. The bear matches the physical and behavioural description provided by the victim. Tests are being conducted to determine if the gender or DNA of the killed bear match evidence collected from the scene.
Until it is confirmed that this was the bear responsible, bear crews will continue to monitor the site.
The park has a Bear Management Plan to prevent bear-human conflicts, primarily through education and encouraging appropriate visitor behaviour. According to the plan, bears may be destroyed if they inflict human injury or exhibit aggressive behavior in unprovoked conflicts.
Over the past ten years, there have been hundreds of bear sightings in Pukaskwa, and only three reports where a bear demonstrated aggressive behavior.
To ensure the safety of park visitors, Pukaskwa’s backcountry remains closed. All registered backcountry park visitors have been evacuated and park staff continue to patrol the backcountry by land, water and air. Hattie Cove remains open, and visitors in the front country campground have been informed of the incident and ensured that their safety is not at risk.
Visitors are reminded to exercise caution in bear country. By becoming familiar with bear behaviour, and what to do if you encounter a bear, you can protect both yourself and bears. Never leave food, garbage or recyclables in accessible locations. Bear-proof garbage cans and/or storage bins are available at all campsites. Further information on appropriate behaviour in black bear areas is available from park staff or at www.parkscanada.gc.ca/blackbear.
All bear sightings in Pukaskwa should be immediately reported to park staff at the Visitor Centre, Kiosk, or by phone (807) 229-0801 ext. 237.
Photo courtesy MNR Ontario.