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What to do if you see a bear or cougar near a school
If residents or school/district employees encounter a bear or cougar, they are advised to remain calm, keep away from the animal and if with children, take the children indoors.
If you encounter a bear:
- Remain calm because often the bear is just passing through looking for food.
- Never approach the bear and do not run from it, as bears can move very quickly.
- Once the bear has left the area, residents should check their yards to ensure there are no attractants (food) available to the bear.
- If encountering a bear, people are advised to wave their arms, and talk to the bear, saying things like: "go bear, go away" and back up slowly. Do not scream at the bear or run away.
- If the bear is sighted on school grounds or near a school during regular school hours, please contact the school to let them know, and tell them exactly where you saw it.
Bears usually are often around more populated areas March to June, and again later September to November. To learn more about how you can do your part to reduce bear conflicts, and for information on becoming a “Bear Smart” community, visit: www.env.gov.bc.ca/wld/bearsmart
If you encounter/see a cougar:
- If you encounter a cougar, keep calm. Make yourself look as large as possible and back away slowly, keeping the cougar in view, and allowing a clear exit for the cougar. Pick up children and small pets immediately. Never run or turn your back- sudden movements may provoke an attack.
- If you notice that a cougar that is watching you, maintain eye contact with the cougar and speak to it in a loud firm voice. Reinforce the fact that you are a human and not an easy target. Back out of the area and seek assistance or shelter.
- If a cougar shows aggression, or begins following you, respond aggressively. Keep eye contact, yell and make loud noises, and show your teeth. Quickly pick up nearby sticks, rocks, or whatever you have at hand to use as a weapon if necessary.
- If the cougar is sighted on school grounds or near a school, during regular school hours, please contact the school to let them know, and tell them exactly where you saw it.
WildSafe BC includes an up-to-date map of where sightings have occurred around the province; plus what to do in encounters with specific types of wildlife.
The public is encouraged to report human-wildlife conflicts that threaten public safety or result in significant property damage by calling the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line, toll-free at 1 877 952-7277 (RAPP), or visit the RAPP website. If the conservation officer determines a bear has become garbage habituated, or is aggressive, they will take appropriate action. However, if a bear was just passing through an area without disturbing anyone, the officers may determine this as a minimal threat.