Let’s keep the “wild” in wildlife! Rouge National Urban Park is home to over 1700 different species of animals and plants, and we want to help them thrive here. We recommend using “the rule of thumb:” if you close one eye, extend your arm and can fully cover the animal with your thumb, you are likely a safe distance away. If you can still see any of the animal, you’re too close and it’s time to move back.
While wandering through the Rouge, it’s important to remember that you’re visiting the home for many different types of wildlife. One of the larger animals you might spot is a coyote, though they’re rather shy and hard to find. If you do encounter one, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Coyotes are usually wary of people
- They can become less fearful if they are fed, or associate humans with food sources
- Coyotes are most active at dusk and dawn
- Coyotes can be more persistent and exhibit an escorting behavior when you are near a den, especially during spring when coyotes are raising their pups
For the safety of visitors and wildlife:
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Always walk with a friend
- Unplug earbuds when walking
- Keep any food items in sealed containers
- Keep your dog leashed
- Stay on marked trails
- Never approach or feed wildlife
What to do if approached by a coyote:
- Remain calm
- Never run away or turn your back
- Slowly back away and maintain eye contact
- Be assertive! Wave your arms above your head
- Make noise, stomp, clap, yell “Go away” or blow your whistle if you have one
- Never scream
It’s unusual to see a coyote, and often they’ll run off as soon as they see you. By following these tips, we can all do our part to help keep people and coyotes safe.
There have been recent black bear sightings in Rouge National Urban Park. Black bears usually avoid humans, but sometimes are attracted to urban and rural areas in search of food or a place to live.
For your safety and awareness while visiting the park, what to do if you encounter a black bear:
- Leave it alone and DO NOT APPROACH
- Remain calm and stay at least 100 metres away (approx. one football field)
- Do not run or corner the bear
- Pick up small children and stay in a group
- Back away slowly while talking to the bear in a calm voice
- Keep your dog on leash at all times; dogs can provoke defensive behaviour in black bears
- If the bear does not leave or continues to approach, stand your ground, yell, look big, throw objects, and make noise
- In the extremely rare event of an attack, fight back. Play dead only if you encounter a mother bear with her cubs (a mom with cubs will see you as a threat, playing dead will indicate you are no longer a threat to her cubs)
Please report any bear sightings in and around Rouge National Urban Park to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) through their Bear Wise Reporting Line: 1-866-514-2327.
Remember, garbage is the main reason bears come near humans. Please do your part to keep trails clean and safe.
If anyone is ever in immediate danger due to threatening wildlife, please call 9-1-1.
For more information and tips on how to behave respectfully around wildlife, check out Parks Canada’s “Keep the Wild in Wildlife”