A Canadian tour guide has shared a video of a grizzly bear and her cub following a group of hikers along a trail in Canada. The video, posted on TikTok by CNN, was recorded by a member of the group at Banff National Park just days before a couple and their dog were killed by a grizzly there, but shows a much more typical encounter and demonstrates the best way to act in such a situation.
Banff is home to both black and grizzly bears, and hikers may come across one any time, but attacks on humans are rare. The grizzlies Nicholson and her party encountered were simply trying to get from one point to another, but the one that attacked the campers last week was found to be an older animal, in poor health and unusually aggressive.
The guide, Phoebe Nicholson, said it was intense but amazing to see two grizzlies up close. She explained that wild animals often use man-made trails as they are the easiest way to get from A to B, and although the cub made a few short bluff charges, she kept the group calm.
"From my training, I know that that is a normal thing," Nicholson said. "The best thing to do is, of course, to stay calm and keep a slow, slow pace, so that's exactly what we did."
Two grizzly bears followed this hiking group down a trail in Banff National Park, Alta., for 20 minutes. Phoebe Nicholson, who was leading the group, said it was “pretty intense” but also a “pretty amazing experience” to be close to the bears. "The baby one did a few quick runs at one point, which may have been what we call a 'bluff charge,' which is where they kind of run at you to see what your reaction is going to be," she said. "From my training, I know that that is a normal thing. The best thing to do is, of course, to stay calm and keep a slow, slow pace, so that's exactly what we did." Nick de Ruyter, WildSmart program director at the Biosphere Institute of the Bow Valley in Canmore, said this encounter wasn’t all that uncommon. Bears use hiking trails for the same reason as humans — it’s easier than tramping through the underbrush. #Bears #Banff #Hiking♬ original sound - CBC News
Travelling in a group is one of the best ways to keep yourself safe in bear country. As Parks Canada explains, "Larger size groups are less likely to have a serious bear encounter. We recommend hiking in a tight group of four or more. Never let children wander."
Hiking together also makes it easier to talk among yourselves and make enough noise to warn bears and other wildlife that you are approaching, giving them time to leave the area first.
Keep yourself safe
If you come across a bear, Parks Canada advises you to stay calm and prepare to use your bear spray, but never run. If the animal hasn't spotted you, move away quietly without getting its attention. If it has seen you, you should speak to it calmly and firmly to let it know that you are not a prey animal, and back away slowly.
For more advice, see our guides what to do if you meet a bear and wildlife safety: eight tips for unexpected encounters.
- The best binoculars: enjoy watching wildlife from a safe distance
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Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.