Erin White was returning from a walk through the Parkhill Conservation Area with her 7-year-old son at around noon Sunday, when the pair spotted a black bear walking through a soybean field at the corner of Highway 81 and Elginfield Rd.
"He looked a little bit intimidated and scared because there were so many people pulled over taking pictures and videoing," said White, who has lived in Parkhill, Ont., for more than 15 years.
"By the time we left, I think there were probably about a dozen," she said.
"We've never had bears in this area before. I know that there have been sightings recently in the Arkona and Thedford area, but I've never seen one in the Parkhill area," said White.
The Ministry of Northern Development, Mines Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) received six reports of a bear sighting in the Lambton Shores area in the last two weeks of June. It also received a report of a sighting nearby in the Camlachie area on June 20.
It's likely two or three bears spotted multiple times, said the ministry.
People are reminded to reduce attractants on their properties and to call the province's BearWise reporting line at 1-866-514-2327 if they see a bear.
The ministry can trap and relocate a bear if absolutely necessary, but that is their last resort. Ministry officials say they are continuing to monitor the Lambton Shores area.
"We've always sort of tried to teach our kids about nature," said White. "We spend a lot of time at our local conservation area, and we've always tried to instill in them an appreciation and respect for nature and that we have to share the land with the animals."
"I just tried to tell [my son] that he's probably on his way to find some berries to eat."