'We were more than a little surprised': Researcher catches bear on camera in Saskatoon

“As you get into the big mammals, and moose and bears are now two of the best examples I could think of in and around Saskatoon, and those can cause problems,” said Ryan Brook, an associate professor at the University of Saskatchewan College of Agriculture and Bioresources.

Researcher says the black bear's appearence on one of his trail cams came as an unusual sight

Ryan Brook, an associate professor at the University of Saskatchewan's College of Agriculture and Bioresources, captured a black bear on camera earlier this week as part of his ongoing research on wildlife in Saskatoon. He says the appearance by was an unusual one. (Supplied by Ryan Brook)

It's not unusual for Ryan Brook to see a wide range of animals on his 30 trail cameras positioned across Saskatoon as part of his research.

But in the early hours of Thursday morning, the associate professor at the University of Saskatchewan's College of Agriculture and Bioresources captured something unusual: a black bear. 

The bear was taking advantage of a fallen aspen tree for a quick snack, said Brook, who studies animal-human conflict as part of his research, noting the large animal was photographed roughly one kilometre west from the Walmart near the Highway 7 and Highway 14 junction.

"We were more than a little surprised," said Brook.

Brook reported the bear sighting to the proper authorities and says it's important for members of the public to do the same, as while this bear didn't seem to be causing any trouble, they can pose some danger in a more populated area.

"As you get into the big mammals, and moose and bears are now two of the best examples I could think of in and around Saskatoon ... those can cause problems," he said. 

"Especially in the cities, because then they get stressed out, with the honking of horns and people and they get very confused, so those animals are particularly susceptible to doing things that are inconsistent with their normal behaviour and may become a problem."

There's no knowing which way the bear travelled after being captured on film, but Brook said he'll be return to the site of the spotting — while taking the proper precautions — to see if there's any other signs of the bear. 

Brook said while it's important to report these sightings to the Ministry of Environment and conservation authorities, the fact so many animals call the city home is a sign of a healthy ecosystem in an urban setting. 

"We have space for humans," said Brook. "But we also have space in our city, green space, that allows animals to move around, feed and survive in our city, which is wonderful."

Brook took to Twitter to share photos of the bear with the public at which time the Meewasin Valley Authority cautioned members of the public to take care.

"Be aware of your surroundings when exploring natural areas in and around Saskatoon! More #UrbanWildlife in our #NatureCity than you may think!" said the authority, which maintains Saskatoon's trail system. 

And if you do encounter an animal while getting your morning exercise, Brook says the last thing you want to do is approach the animal, saying the wildlife selfie or DIY removal of the animal is not worth the potential danger.

"We don't want people trying to take these on by themselves," he said. "Your best thing is to get into your vehicle, get into a house, get away from those animals and then immediately call in the experts."

Those who would like to report an animal sighting can call the Ministry of Environment at 306-933-6240. Those encountering a nuisance, or dangerous animals, can call 1-800-667-7561. In case of an emergency, call 911.


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