Black bears are braver… what are you doing to protect yourself?

Staff ~ The Amherst News
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Robert Kemp cradles the fur pelt of a former raccoon brought to the Amherst Shore Provincial Park so visitors could see some of the animals they should keep their distance from as part of his helpful wildlife tips presentation made Saturday.

AMHERST SHORE – Big and black, or lean and toothy.

Coyote and bear protection tips were delivered Natural Resources officials at the Amherst Shore Provincial Park Saturday as part of their Brave Black Bears and Cagey Coyotes presentation.

Donald Rushton, the conservation officer from Oxford, gave the presentation. He even brought some fur pelts and some noisemakers used to scare off wild life.

“We feel as if we have a lot of people from the cities and the towns that really don’t know much about wildlife,” said Rushton. “We just hope to give them a little education that the best way to save animals is not feed them and pet them but just to keep them at a safe distance. Don’t feed them. Education and knowledge is just a good thing for them I think.”

Kelly Dawe saw the presentation as a good opportunity to teach her children some safety tips about wildlife.

“We’ve been camping since Thursday and we thought it would be a cool thing for them to see,” said Dawe. “We want them to be aware of the nature that’s around them.”

Chris Kemp visited the park all the way from Ontario. He said he brought his children to the presentation to learn about wildlife but ended up learning a few things himself.

“We want our kids to know about animals and usually presentations put on by the parks are pretty good,” said Kemp. “I learned quite a bit. I didn’t know about the moose and bear noisemakers. I guess just learning more about locally the fact that there isn’t a bear hunt here but I know there is one in Ontario and one in New Brunswick. I guess just the regional differences.”

Rushton thinks some of the problems with wildlife getting to close to human territory are from small things like birdfeeders. He said people can live with wildlife but there are things people should do to avoid have encounters with them.

“We can’t feed them. Bird feeders, a lot of this stuff here, we keep feeding birds all summer, and it’s drawing the wrong kind of the wrong kind of animals. Everything from rats, skunks, raccoons and really, they don’t need the food and you’re just drawing in problems.”

A lot of the children at the presentation walked away with something new.

“You make a lot of noise,” said Dahlia Dawe. “And act big.”

“If you’re to come into contact with a coyote just stand your ground, don’t let them see weakness,” said Lauren Mitchell

Rushton said there are a few things to remember when encountering wildlife, much like what Mitchell and Dawe had both learned.

“They should not run, or scream that’s what triggers the predatory response. Just stand your ground or back off slowly,” said Rushton. “The worse thing you can do is start screaming and start running because that triggers a predatory response from everything from a poodle right up to a bear. They can run 35  miles an hour. They can climb a tree faster than they can run and they’re five times stronger than man so guess what, stand your ground and back off slowly.”



Geographic location: Amherst Shore Provincial Park, Ontario, Oxford New Brunswick

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