Earlier this week, a tourist was swiped by a black bear while in a popular park in Burnaby, B.C.
She managed to get away with minor injuries, but it's a scary situation that serves as a reminder that we share parks and forested areas with much larger occupants.
In light of the incident, CTV News asked an expert how park-goers can be more bear aware.
Luci Cadman, education co-ordinator at the North Shore Black Bear Society, said it's very rare for black bears to approach a group of people.
"Black bears are actually very wary of people. Their instinct is to avoid us," she told CTV Morning Live Vancouver on Wednesday.
"They'll usually be hiding in trees until the people have left."
She said the bear involved in Monday's incident, which ended in the bear being killed by conservation officers, must have had many rewards in previous human encounters.
"That could be positive experiences with people. So, he's approached people, they get out their camera and take a photograph of that bear. They don't tell the bear, 'Don't come too close,'" Cadman said.
"We almost encourage them to get close for our incessant need for an Instagram post."
Properly manage your trash
She said it's possible the bear also experienced food rewards. It seems that this one had been getting into garbage for a few weeks, and may have also benefited from food left unattended by picnickers or campers.
The bear approached the American tourist Monday during a picnic.
"It's very rare for black bears to make physical contact with anything," she said.
However, bears could lash out if they're defending a food source, and it might swipe out if it felt someone was getting too close.
One of the best ways members of the public can prevent encounters with bears is to ensure they're following the garbage rules outlined by their municipality. Trash should be kept in a secure place, and only put outside during the permitted hours.
Keep your dog on a leash
Cadman was asked what dog owners should do to reduce the chances of a negative encounter.
"The best thing to do is to is to avoid a bear encounter altogether. So, keeping your dog on leash is very, very important," she said.
"More than half of all negative wildlife encounters involve offleash dogs. The dogs go off into the bushes, find the bear, the bear feels threatened and then needs to defend itself."
In most cases, the dog will run back to its owner with the bear in tow, Cadman said.
Use your voice
Another suggestion Cadman offered up was to be vocal in the event of an encounter.
"Black bears are incredibly smart and they recognize human voices. Be talking on the trails," she advised.
Hearing voices could be enough to encourage a bear to climb up a tree and hide in the canopy until the humans have left.
Bear Smart also recommends hikers put away their earbuds or headphones and pay attention to their surroundings. Travelling alone? The agency suggests singing to yourself.
"Take a nice deep breath and stay calm," Cadman said.
Bear Smart suggests getting your bear spray ready if you have it, and if you're in a group, stay together so you appear larger.
It also suggests trying to figure out if there's a food source or cubs nearby to determine how aggressive the bear may act.
Back away slowly
Cadman said those confronted by a bear should walk away very slowly, facing the animal.
"When the bear leaves, that's when you turn around and leave the area," she said.
"In the rare situation where a bear approaches as you're backing away, that's when you make yourself look big. You use a firm voice and you stand your ground, and you let the bear know, 'You aren't able to come any closer.'"