The Sault Ste. Marie Police Service has taken a number of calls regarding bear sightings locally. So far this year we have received 230 calls as compared to 286 calls for all of 2015 and 207 in 2014.
Our Service would like to remind the public that they should only call police when they feel that there is a concern for public safety. If it is simply a bear sighting, such as a bear wondering in the area, on city streets, residential yards, sifting through garbage, etc. then they are reminded to call the MNR Bear Hotline at 1-866-514-2327.
Through that bear hotline line and through the bear wise program with the MNR we’ve been able to give the public the information they need to rationalize when they need to call emergency services. It’s a matter of educating the public and redirecting calls to where they belong.
Call 911 or local police, if a bear:
- enters a school yard when school is in session
- enters or tries to enter a residence
- wanders into a public gathering
- kills livestock/pets and lingers at the site
- stalks people and lingers at the site
Call the Bear Wise reporting line at 1-866-514-2327 if a bear is:
- roaming around, checking garbage cans
- breaking into a shed where garbage or food is stored
- in a tree
- pulling down a bird feeder or knocking over a barbecue
- moving through a backyard or field but is not lingering
Tips in reducing the chance of attracting bears to your property:
- put garbage in containers with tight-fitting lids; put containers out on the morning of garbage day
- frequently wash garbage cans, recycling containers and lids with a strong disinfectant
- if you do not have curbside pick-up, take garbage to the dump often
- fill bird feeders only through the winter months
- do not leave pet food outdoors, in porches or in screened-in areas
- do not put meat, fish or fruit in outside composters
- pick all ripe fruit from trees and bushes and fallen fruit off the ground
- remove grease/food residue from BBQ grills, including the grease cup, after each use
Often a bear is just passing through, and if it does not find a food source it will simply move on.
For more information on what to do if you encounter a black bear on your property or while enjoying the outdoors, visit the MNR website at www.ontario.ca/bearwise.