Since 1881, there have been 10 bear-caused fatalities in Ontario, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources.
In that same time period, 57 bear-human encounters in Ontario have been reported, none of which resulted in any injuries, Jolanta Kowalski, senior media relations officer with the MNR, said.
“I don't think there's cause for concern, and this happens pretty rarely,” she said in response to the July 16 incident where a Markstay woman was injured when a bear pushed her to the ground and clawed her before running after the woman's dog.
Sirrka Koivuranta required stitches to sew up a gash on her chin, and she had some gashes on her back from where the bear clawed her, but she walked away from the incident. Anytime you're out in bear country, you run the chances of coming across a bear, and it always behooves people around those areas to be cautious, Kowalski said.
Koivuranta seemed to be relatively prepared and bear wise, Kowalski said, as she was carrying an air horn with her at the time of the incident.
“Thank goodness she's OK,” Kowalski said. “The only other thing I could suggest is keeping pets leashed when taking them on a walk, because sometimes your dog could inadvertently bring a bear back to you.”
There have been no reports of any type of illness that would cause a bear to attack humans, she said. The bear that injured Koivuranta was a smaller bear according to the report to the MNR, which leads officials to think it was a young bear out looking to assert itself.
“Sometimes, younger bears are out and tend to get into a bit more trouble as they try to find a home range in which to establish themselves; whereas, older adult bears are already established and will push out the younger bears,” Kowalski said. “But it's all only speculation.”
The MNR set up a bear trap on July 17 at the request of the Ontario Provincial Police; however, no bear was caught, nor were there any sightings or calls to the MNR, Kowalksi said. The trap was removed July 23.
“(Bears) tend to move on pretty quickly,” she said.
Posted by Arron Pickard