Province offers bear safety tips

Spring and early summer are the most common times of year for black bear sightings in New Brunswick.

That's why the province is offering up tips on how to avoid encounters with the animals.

Officials say although attacks are extremely rare, people need to realize that bears are wild animals that demand respect.

"Conflicts between people and bears have increased as suburban sprawl encroaches into former bear habitat and as more people use New Brunswick's woodlands for recreation," the Department of Energy and Resource Development says in a news release.

"In rural areas, conflicts between people and bears arise when bears damage personal property, beehives, livestock and agricultural crops."

The best way to avoid bear problems, the province says, is to not attract them to your property in the first place.

"Bears are attracted to homes and camps mainly by garbage and bird feeders. Pet food, charcoal grills, fruit trees and gardens may also attract bears. Once a bear finds food around a home, it will likely return."

If you do get too close to a bear, you should back away slowly, go inside and wait for the bear to leave.

Anyone who encounters an aggressive bear, has a recurring or persistent nuisance problem, or suffers property damage should contact their local Energy and Resource Development office.

You can find more tips on dealing with bears online.