Manitoba

Girl, 8, attacked by bear at Whiteshell Provincial Park

After the bear swiped the tent, cutting the girl's face, it attempted to get the family's food barrel which was hanging from a near-by tree.

Child has been released from hospital after receiving cuts to the face

An eight-year-old girl was left with cuts to the face after being attacked in her tent while camping in Whiteshell Provincial Park last weekend. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

An eight-year-old girl had her face scratched by a black bear at a remote campsite in Whiteshell Provincial Park, the province says. 

The incident happened on Saturday at a campsite on South Cross Lake. 

The bear swiped the tent, cutting the girl's face. Then it attempted to get the family's food barrel, which was hanging from a nearby tree. 

The child's father managed to scare the bear away from the campsite, allowing the family to alert other campers, then get in their canoe and escape. 

The girl was treated in hospital and sent home; she's OK, according to the release. 

Conservation officers are trying to locate the bear. It was last seen swimming away toward Caddy Lake. 

Earlier this month, a Winnipeg man was bitten by a black bear along the Mantario trail, much of which is in Whiteshell Provincial Park. 

Though about 30 kilometres separate the two attacks, wildlife experts believe it is unlikely the same bear is involved.

Bear safety tips

Janine Stewart, a wildlife conflict biologist with the province of Manitoba, said the best way to avoid encounters with bears is to properly store "attractants" — things like food, garbage, toiletries or even the clothes you cooked in that might smell tasty.

"Black bears are very motivated by their stomach and led by their nose," she said. "It tends to be anything that smells like food that can lead black bears into trouble with people."

She recommends getting your hands on wildlife-resistant containers for storage.

Stewart said it doesn't appear bear sightings are spiking in Manitoba this season, but she added that sightings generally increase in August, when bears' appetites skyrocket.

If you're in the wilderness, she recommends travelling in groups and making lots of noise so bears will avoid you. If you have a dog, keep it on a leash and under control, she added.

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