Coexistence Solutions: Tips for Runners

A woman running through a park.

Millions of Canadians run for exercise and pleasure every day – and that number has likely increased during the pandemic. Running safely means more than just the mechanics of movement and lights, however, particularly if you run where wildlife lives.

Whether on the street in a city, a trail through a park, or the back country, these simple tips will keep you and nearby wildlife safer while you run:

  1. Listen! Music, podcasts and other audio streams are an essential part of many runners’ equipment. But covering both ears creates risk: you can’t hear approaching vehicles as well, other pedestrians or runners can’t communicate to you, and you won’t hear animals (wild and domestic) if they’re nearby. Keep at least one ear open while running, no matter where you are.
  2. Plan Your Run! Deciding where you’re going to run has multiple advantages. First, it allows you to meet your needs (avoiding hills on a recovery day, or getting good straightaways for training). Second, it allows you to find out if there’s reason to see any wildlife in the area with a simple online search. And third, it makes it even easier for you to let your safety buddy know where you’ll be in case of emergency or you’re in need of assistance.
  3. Have the Right Equipment! While it may be unnecessary for running through Toronto, having bear spray, sirens or other suggested deterrents on your person while running is important. Just because you haven’t seen bears on a specific trail doesn’t mean they aren’t there; if you live in bear country, assume bears are around.
  4. Learn the Basics! Do you know what to do if you see a coyote on your run? What about a bear, off-leash dog or raccoon? Knowing how to respond to these situations (virtually of which include ‘stop running’ as step one, and involve using your voice to let wildlife know you’re around) gives you – and the animals – a better chance of a positive experience.

Running is a wonderful way to stay healthy, experience nature and give yourself self-care. But when we’re outside, we’re in nature and that means behaving as a responsible member of an ecosystem. We look forward to hearing about your sightings while exercising on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter channels!

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Established in 1953, The Fur-Bearers is a charitable, non-partisan organization whose goals are to end the commercial fur trade and promote solutions for wildlife coexistence in communities. Your donation is tax-deductible. Charitable registration number: 130006125RR0002

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