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Young bear spotted wandering around Lumsden, Sask.


Several people in Lumsden, Sask. were in for a unique encounter over the past couple of days as a young bear made its way into town.

Early Thursday morning, Curtis Koskie was driving when he spotted the bear.

“I was going down one of the hills in our town and it was right in front of me. I had to stop so I had a little while to look at it,” he explained.

Koskie said the cub stood around five or six feet and looked about two years old.

“Once my vehicle stopped, he walked over to the next tree and just started climbing up but it looked like he was playing,” he said.

Koskie was able to snap a photo, which he posted to social media. He said other people in Lumsden also saw the inquisitive mammal on the move on Wednesday.

A video of the bear walking across the street can be seen using the video player above.

While Koskie has seen different signs indicating bear activity in the Lumsden area, such as droppings, this is the first time he has seen an actual bear.

“I know that they’re out and around but … we don’t really see them in around town a lot,” he said.

Koskie explained that the bear was close to a daycare, so he first let them know. He then contacted the RCMP directly and gave them a description of the bear and where it was located. He said RCMP told him they would contact a conservation officer (CO) to handle the situation.

“I know that that’s a process you could go through when there’s something like a bear or anything larger that could potentially harm someone,” he said.

While this particular bear was brown in colour, Matthew Tokaruck, a bear biologist with the province, said the cub spotted was a black bear, as they come in a variety of colours.

“The species we have in the province is the black bear, that’s the common name,” he said. “There’s going to be brown, cinnamon, blonde, black, black and white lace on the chest.”

According to Tokaruk, now that warmer weather has arrived, the bears are out of their dens looking for food to put on fat after hibernation. Moving later into the summer, bears are trying to eat thousands of calories to put on fat for the winter.

While black bears inhabit most parts of the provinces, they are most frequently seen in the forests of northern Saskatchewan.

“They can be common, for sure. We really try to highlight that Saskatchewan is bear country,” he said. “Especially at this time of year, young bears are dispersing and they can travel tremendous distances so we can encounter them in areas we don’t expect them.”

The “teenage” bears are about two or three years old, so Tokaruk said it’s not strange that a young bear was wandering by itself.

Black bears are generally not aggressive and will avoid people if possible, but they may approach if they feel threatened or hungry, Tokaruk said.

He said people should make sure they practice caution and reduce the chance of negative encounters.

To do that, it is recommended that people bear-proof their yard or campsite by:

  • Storing garbage in a secure building or container and only putting the bin out on the morning of collection
  • Ensuring pet food is stored where it’s not accessible to wildlife and only using bird feeders in the winter when bears hibernate
  • Not adding fish, meat, fat, oils, unrinsed eggshells, or cooked food to the backyard compost
  • Properly cleaning and storing barbeque grills
  • Not cooking, eating, or storing food inside a tent or trailer
  • Placing garbage in containers provided
  • Not burning or burying scraps
  • Cleaning fish only at designated fish-cleaning
  • Keeping pets on a leash while hiking

If someone does see a black bear, Tokaruk advised people to speak in low tones, leave room between themselves and the bear, just move along, or throw something on the ground to distract it.

He said once conservation officers are contacted, they would assess the situation and decide what their role is from there.

“If you do have an encounter with a bear where there’s an imminent risk to human safety, of course, we call 911,” Tokaruk said. “That’s incredibly rare.”

“It’s still safe to be outside and enjoy the outdoors, and in most cases, we see a black bear, it’s already running the other way where you can grab a quick picture before it’s done and it’s a positive encounter with wildlife,” he said.

Tokaruk said they do monitor bear populations and said there is a steady trend of black bear sightings in the province.

“All the data would suggest that the black bear populations are stable,” he said. Top Stories

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