A Markham taxi driver got a big scare on Thursday morning when he was confronted by what he thought was a black bear.
Mohammed Naim had just dropped off a passenger near a sod farm on Highway 48, south of Elgin Mills, when he became lost.
“I was actually right here and the bear was standing right there. He was just looking around,” Naim said.
He called York regional police, saying he couldn’t get out of his cab because there was a bear walking around it.
Police arrived and found what they said were bear tracks surrounding the cab — but it took some time for officers to find the vehicle in the first place.
They had to turn on the sirens and flash their lights so the cab driver could direct them to his vehicle.
Officers then arranged a tow truck to pull the cab — and Naim — to safety.
“Then, he went somewhere else in the trees. It was scary but after, I started laughing,” he said.
It turns out the bear was a 150-pound black Newfoundland dog named Bear.
Matt Gauthier, the manager of the sod farm, told CityNews that when his dog is laying down, she looks exactly like a bear.
“The reason the cab driver was able to get so close to her,” he said, “is that she wanted to lick him to death.”
Naim’s passenger was Gauthier’s father-in-law, he said.
If you do encounter an actual black bear, back away slowly and quietly, the Ministry of Natural Resources advises. If the bear knows you’re there, raise your arms to show you’re human and make yourself as big as possible. And speak in a firm but non-threatening way as you walk away.
This 150-pound dog, named Bear, was mistaken for an actual black bear in the early-morning hours of March 13, 2014. Courtesy of Matt Gauthier.
Dog tracks are seen in the snow in Markham on March 13, 2014. A cab driver called police when he spotted what he thought was a black bear. CITYNEWS.