Conservation Officers and Ministry of Forest officials have reopened the Beaver Lodge Forest trails to public use after a bear acted aggressively toward a jogger Tuesday, prompting the trail closure.
“He came up on to a rise in the trail and heard a snap in the bushes and saw a medium-sized black bear,” Conservation Officer Mike Newton said.
The jogger immediately turned and ran, which is what they tell you not to do, Newton said, and hightailed it out to Dogwood Street. The jogger then called the Conservation Officer (CO) service.
In consultation with the Ministry of Forests, the CO service decided it would be best to close the trails at the Rockland end of the Beaver Lodge Forest Lands and set up a trap and a trail camera beside it.
Despite being baited with bacon, sardines and molasses, the trap failed to attract anything and the trail camera showed no activity around the trap at all.
“Our level of confidence is high that that the offending bear has moved on,” Newton said Thursday morning. “Even if it was reluctant to go in the trap, the trail camera would have caught it.”
Despite rumours going around that it was a mother bear and a cub, Newton said there is no indication of that.
But the Beaver Lodge Forest is full of wildlife and there is a high probability of a number of different bears being sighted in the popular natural area, Newton added.
The decision was made to try and capture the bear sighted by the jogger Tuesday because of its aggressive behaviour towards people. Usually, when a bear encounters a person, it will turn and run but this one didn’t.
“It’s unusual for a bear to see a person and charge that person,” Newton said.
As usual, whenever you’re in the forest, avoid traveling at dawn and dusk, travel in groups and make noise, all standard advice for traveling in bear country.
Newton asks the public to keep Conservation Officers informed of any wildlife activity. Report any wildlife encounters to the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277.