Bears are inquisitive creatures, but sometimes that curiosity can turn lethal. Two joggers in Alberta are counting themselves lucky after they escaped a lengthy face-off with a young black bear. According to CTV News, Bruce Allan and Greg Armour were running through a wooded trail near Fort McMurrary on June 5 when they picked up an unwanted companion.
“The moment that I met the bear it was an instant ‘turn around, don’t make eye contact, walk away,’ and that didn’t seem to work,” said Allan, who videotaped the encounter.
Instead, the bear seemed intent on following the two men, occasionally rushing forward and climbing up nearby trees. The two men continually talked to it while retreating to their vehicle and at one point discussed finding some rocks as a weapon of last resort.
“It took us up to a point in the trail where it actually comes to a hairpin turn and it cut across the trees and actually pinned us against the tree line. At that point, I thought things were getting a little more serious,” Allan told Global News. “When it caught us in that tight corner, we were aggressive. We were yelling at it, we were telling it to leave us alone […] we were trying to make ourselves appear large.”
You can see the video below:
After a few minutes, the bear decided it had enough and left the joggers, allowing them to run to their parked vehicle. Alberta Fish and Wildlife conflict specialist Mike Ewald said that the two men did the right thing by sticking together, talking to the bear, and not turning their backs on it. Experts recommend that when confronted by a black bear, one should speak loudly and calmly when appearing to be as large as possible. If attacked, fight back aggressively.
There are currently no plans to relocate the bear, although wildlife officials advise taking bear spray when entering their territory.
The trail was only a few miles from where a woman was fatally mauled by a black bear just last month. In that event, a black bear had reportedly attacked a crew of seven Suncor employees at an oil sands site 15 miles from Fort McMurray. The workers attempted to ward off the bear with water hoses and noisemakers, but it did not leave before killing 36-year-old Lorna Weafer. Wildlife officials say it was the first fatal bear attack in Alberta since 1991, despite the burgeoning population of more than 40,000 black bears in the province.