Bushwalkers and hikers have been warned to be extra careful after recent bear sightings in popular hiking areas of Australia. Although bears are usually a rare sight on Australian hiking trails, recent sightings have increased concern for safety among hikers and park rangers. To ensure safety while hiking or camping, park rangers and wildlife experts have advised precautionary measures including being bear aware, storing food and toiletries properly, carrying bear spray, hiking in groups, and researching the areas hikers will be hiking in. It is also advised to learn about other wildlife in the area.
Bushwalkers Urged to Take Precautions After Recent Bear Sightings
Bushwalkers and hikers are being urged to take extra precautions after recent bear sightings in popular hiking areas. Although bears are a rare sight in most Australian hiking trails, recent sightings have caused concern for safety among hikers and park rangers alike. Below are some tips to help ensure your safety while hiking or camping in bear country.
Preparation is key to ensuring your safety while hiking or camping in bear country. Here are some precautionary measures recommended by park rangers and wildlife experts:
1. Be Bear Aware
It is important to be aware of your surroundings and listen for sounds of nearby bears. Make noise while hiking, so that bears are aware of your presence and will avoid you. Keep an eye out for bear sign such as tracks, scat, and scratches on trees. If you see a bear, avoid approaching it and give it plenty of space.
2. Store Your Food Properly
Make sure to store food, garbage, and toiletries in bear-resistant containers or in a safe location such as a car or bear locker. Bears are attracted to the smell of food, and improperly stored food can lead to bear-human conflicts.
3. Carry Bear Spray
Bear spray is a non-lethal, effective deterrent against a charging bear. Make sure to carry bear spray in an easily accessible location so that you can reach it quickly in case of an emergency. Make sure you know how to use it properly before heading out on a hike.
4. Hike in Groups
Hiking in groups is safer than hiking alone. Bears are more likely to avoid groups of people than individuals, so hiking in a group can help prevent conflicts with bears.
Q: Are bears dangerous?
A: Although bears are usually solitary and avoid people, they can be dangerous if they feel threatened or cornered. It is important to give bears plenty of space and be aware of your surroundings while hiking or camping in bear country.
Q: What should I do if I encounter a bear?
A: The best thing to do is to avoid contact with bears in the first place. If you do encounter a bear, stay calm and slowly back away while making yourself appear larger. Speak in a calm voice and try to defuse the situation. Do not turn your back on the bear or run away, which can trigger a chase response. If the bear charges you, use your bear spray and aim for the eyes and nose.
Q: What should I do if a bear attacks me?
A: In the rare event of an attack, fight back as aggressively as possible. Use any available rocks, sticks, or other objects to hit the bear’s face, nose, and eyes. Once the bear releases its grip, try to get away from the area as quickly as possible. Seek medical attention immediately.
Q: Can I still go hiking in bear country?
A: Yes, you can still safely hike and camp in bear country as long as you take the necessary precautions. Follow the guidelines above, listen to park rangers, and use common sense while hiking in bear country.
Q: Are there other wildlife I should be aware of while hiking?
A: Yes, there are other wildlife such as snakes, cougars, and wolves that you should be aware of while hiking. Make sure to research the area you will be hiking in and learn about the wildlife that lives there. Carry a first-aid kit and know how to treat any insect or wildlife bites.
By taking the necessary precautions and being bear aware, you can safely enjoy hiking and camping in bear country. Remember to listen to the advice of park rangers, and to respect the wildlife you encounter along the way.