Park officials say the chances of running into a black or grizzly bear in the Rockies are higher than normal right now because the late spring is forcing the animals to lower altitudes.

Here’s what the wildlife experts at Parks Canada recommend you do to stay safe in bear country.

They’re scared of you too!

Bears are often more scared you than you are of them. They would rather avoid stressful contact with humans if at all possible. So, let them know you’re coming. Make lots of noise on trails, travel in groups – do everything you can do to make your presence known. It’s also important to keep dogs on a leash at all times.

If you see a bear ...

If you see a bear and it doesn’t know you’re there, simply move away quietly. If the bear notices you, stay calm. Speak to it in a firm voice. Make yourself look as big as possible. Back away slowly, as running may simply cause the bear to chase you. Don’t remove your backpack or anything else that might provide protection.

If the bear approaches ...

Remain calm and continue talking in a firm voice. If you can, slowly and safely move out of the bear’s way. Prepare to use your bear spray. In the rare case that a bear is predatory – if it is intent on following you with its head and ears up – you may need to stand your ground. Shout and act aggressively to try to intimidate the bear.