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'Don't get too cocky': Black bear spotted at Moncton park

Despite the wet weather, Kyle Allen and his four-year-old son Benji decided to go for a bike ride at Moncton's Mapleton Park Monday morning.

They didn't know a bear had been spotted there over the weekend before until they saw a sign at the entrance.

Not too worried about the warning, father and son entered the park and went for their ride in the rain.

"You just have to give them their distance, don't get too close. If they start approaching you just back up slowly you know. Don't get too cocky with them I guess," said Allen.

The City of Moncton posted a warning on social media Monday morning and signs have been put up at the park's main entrances.

Dan Hicks, the city's director of parks, said they received a report on Sunday that a black bear was sighted at a bird feeder.

He said bear sightings at Mapleton Park are not uncommon in the spring.

"This is the time of year where usually the females, as they're having new cubs, they kick last year's cubs out of the house so to speak, so the young ones are looking for new territory and they kind of wander around a bit until they find a spot that works for them," said Hicks.

Hicks said the city has removed all the bird feeders from the park trails to eliminate the source of food for the bears.

Jim Richard comes to the park every day, but didn't notice the signs until after he started his walk.

He's seen several bears in the wild in Ontario and wasn't fazed at all by the warning.

"No, no I'm not. I've seen quite a few so I'm not worried about them," said Richard.

Same goes for Ron Furlotte who knew about the sighting before he got to the park.

"I've seen bears in the wild before and they run away. Any encounter I've had with a black bear, it runs away. I've had two or three," said Furlotte.

The signs did however deter Dale Barrio, who was bringing his dog for a walk.

"I have my dog with me and I don't want to risk him. I don't really want to risk myself either," said Barrio.

Hicks said the sighting is a cause for concern, but there's nothing to panic about.

"The best advice is not to engage with them, not to interact with them as much as possible. If you do end up having one show up when you're around, more often than not, they're more scared of you than you are of it," said Hicks.

Hicks said park-goers should keep their pets on leashes and if a bear is spotted, they should call the city to report the sighting.

Bears will typically move on, he said, and they don't ask for assistance from the Department of Natural Resources and Energy Development unless there's a sign of aggression or odd behaviour, but that's rare.

"We've never had any serious encounters with wildlife up to now. It's been brief encounters," said Hicks.

Bear sightings can be reported to the city by calling its dispatch line at (506) 859-2643.

Department of Natural Resources and Energy Development spokesperson Nick Brown said they received a call about the bear on Saturday.

“A couple bears have been spotted in the Moncton area this year, which is not unusual as bears are common throughout all of forested mainland New Brunswick,” said Brown in an email.

Brown said anyone who encounters an aggressive bear or has a recurring or persistent nuisance problem should contact the department’s local office.

He provided a list of office locations and contact information.

“If a bear finds a food source, it will likely return, but there are a number of steps that can be taken to help avoid encounters and problem with black bears,” said Brown.

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page. Top Stories


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