Be Bear Wise as Hibernation Ends

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There have already been several reports of bears roaming neighbourhoods in and around Sault Ste. Marie, and all of them are hungry and looking for a quick meal after a long winter of hibernating.  The OPP remind people to be bear wise during the early Spring months.

The Ontario government and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are reminding people to take extra care not to attract bears to their neighborhood. In some parts of the province, this year’s mild winter means black bears are coming out of hibernation early. Taking simple precautions can help prevent black bears from visiting your community.

Human-bear interactions are related to the availability of bears’ natural food sources. When natural food sources are unavailable, black bears will search for other food. Items such as garbage and bird feed can draw bears to populated areas. Take care by:

Storing garbage in waste containers with tight-fitting lids

Putting out garbage only on the morning of pickup

Filling bird feeders, including seed, suet and nectar only during the winter when bears are hibernating

Cleaning food residue and removing grease from outdoor barbecue grills after each use

Keeping pet food indoors.

A bear that enters a populated area isn’t necessarily a threat, but it is important to know who to call during a bear encounter. If a bear is posing an immediate threat to public safety by exhibiting threatening or aggressive behaviour, call 911 or your local police.

For non-emergencies, the province operates a toll-free Bear Wise reporting line (1-866-514-2327) 24/7 from April 1 to November 30 to provide the public with information and best practices.