Nfld. & Labrador

Stop feeding the bears: Terra Nova Park official

Officials at Terra Nova Park in eastern Newfoundland are concerned that a black bear who lives in the park is becoming too friendly with humans.

Officials at Terra Nova Park in eastern Newfoundland are concerned that a black bear in the park is becoming too friendly with humans.

The park, which is located about 70 kilometers east of Gander, is home to various species of wildlife, including moose, caribou and a number of bears.

Kevin Robinson, the park's resource conservation manager, said there have been quite a few incidents where people have been feeding bears along the highway. However, Robinson said, one bear in particular has been fed so often it's now too used to human food.

"It's becoming more and more bold. The bear's been going to the people, coming up to the cars looking for the food," Robinson said.

The bear, which frequents the highway between the town of Terra Nova and the park itself, comes out to the road looking for food. Robinson is concerned the animal could be hit by a passing vehicle.

While the bear's forward nature is worrisome, Robinson said, people have also become less afraid of the animal, which is compounding the problem.

"They're actually going out and holding up like a peanut butter sandwich or an apple or whatever for the bear to come close to the vehicle and thus take the food directly from their hand," said Robinson.

While it may look tame, Robinson said, people need to remember the bear is still a wild animal and could become aggressive at any time. He said they're trying to scare the bear away, teaching it that human food is a danger. They're also trying to educate the public so that people don't feed the animal.

If that doesn't work, Robinson said, they may be forced to trap the bear and relocate it or, as a last resort, have it destroyed.

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