Essential Safety Tips as Bear Encounters Rise in Rockland

Essential Safety Tips as Bear Encounters Rise in Rockland

By Idy Perl

Black bear sightings are becoming increasingly common in Rockland County as the weather warms up, and Rockland Daily has been receiving numerous videos and photos of bears roaming through residential areas. 

Although bears are extremely scary and can be dangerous, they don’t usually attack humans unless provoked. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind if you encounter a bear:

Stay calm. Bears don’t usually attack humans, but they might detect a shout or sudden movement as aggression and become defensive.

To escape, slowly and calmly back away while stepping sideways. 

NEVER run from a bear. Running will trigger a chase response in the bear. Despite their size, bears can run at speeds of around 30 miles an hour.

Don’t climb a tree; bears can climb trees faster and better than humans. 

If the bear hasn’t noticed your presence, stay quiet and slowly back away without attracting attention. 

In the case of an attack by a black bear, which is the bear species most common in Rockland County, do not play dead as is advised for brown or grizzly bears. Fight back with whatever objects are available and concentrate on hitting the face and muzzle.

Buy bear pepper spray and carry it on hikes or in areas that are known to have bears. 

Do not leave food outside on camping trips or in areas with bears. 

Stay safe out there! 

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