Ministry of Natural Resources Responds to Bear Incident


In light of the recent bear incident downtown earlier this week, SaultOnline reached out to the Ministry of Natural Resources to ask why the bear wasn’t trapped and relocated.

“The ministry does not trap and relocate problem bears, except in exceptional circumstances because trapping and relocating has always been our least effective tool to manage problem bears,” MNRF Sr. Media Relations Officer Jolanta Kowalski told SaultOnline.

“Research confirms that many relocated bears will simply return to the areas from which they were removed. However the Ministry will respond to emergency situations during daylight hours at the request of police.”

What exactly is considered an exceptional circumstance?

Kowalski said the MNRF considers it to be anything called in by police, usually when there is a public safety issue.

She said staff were on their way to the scene to assist police when the bear was shot, but the MNRF “doesn’t second-guess police actions when it comes to public safety.”

The bear in question was shot by Sault Ste. Marie Police Officers when they believed the bear was becoming aggressive after hours on the run in the city’s downtown core. Witnesses of the bear sighting posted several comments on social media that the bear was thin, hungry and scared.

How do we keep the intercity bear problem at bay? Kawalski said that the most important step in minimizing human-bear encounters is to remove any items that attract bears.

“Keeping property free from attractants like garbage and bird feeders makes bears less likely to visit,” she said. “Police can use sirens and MNRF staff and police may also use bear bangers to help move the bear out of urban areas.”

The MNRF also operates a toll-free, 24/7 Bear-Wise reporting line and a bear web page  with information on how to avoid problems with bears.


  1. All of the people on here bitching about the police finding it necessary to put the bear down, would be the same ones bitching if anyone had been hurt by that same bear. The police should be equipped with tranquilizer guns, then the Ministry can get off their asses, and remove the bears. The Ministry sounds pretty damned useless.

  2. “The ministry does not trap and relocate problem bears, except in exceptional circumstances because trapping and relocating has always been our least effective tool to manage problem bears,” …I guess their most effective tool is the police letting a crowd gather then shooting a poor animal.

  3. Why is there such a breakdown of communication when it comes to these situations. Why are police not equiped with tranquilizer guns for just these reasons. The bear would have been subdued when MNR arrives to cage the poor bear for relocation. Why does this have to be so dam difficult and cold hearted. Still can’t believe our police, I am so disappointed and devastated for the life of a scared sweet animal who certainly was not expecting to die that day. Dam it anyway!

  4. People need to stop posting bear “warnings ” and “sightings “. For how many years ppl lived without social media to spread fear about bears being around. They were always in my grandmother’s area the whole time she lived there- everyone knew to stay inside, keep pets and kids inside, and they wandered off on their own. You’re always going to get oversensitive ppl nowadays with the “I’m going to protect my family ” mentality who will call the cops and complain they don’t feel safe- cops show up and kill the bear. I still don’t understand how so many ppl live in SSM and don’t know how to handle a bear situation properly? Stay inside, keep away, you’ll live.

    • Bill Stamm Cartner or bored cops who like an excuse to use their guns. Like, go after the junkies and rampant drug dealers please! Or, the very least, use your power for crowd control abd keep the people who were ‘in danger’ away from the bear.

  5. What even disgusted more is when there is a lie to cover it up. Shame on those heartless humans. We won’t call them idiots. The police traumatized the bear behind the dumpster with there sirens and claimed it needed to be shot.

  6. Seems the MNR believes that no matter how far you relocate a bear it has the mental capacity to find its way back.That is 100 percent a copout.

  7. The human race need a lesson in the habitats of nature. We humans are the culprits. Leaving our garbage wherever the hell we feel. Invading nature and building our homes in THEIR territory. Not understanding and feeling we humans have more rights. Who’s in who’s territory. Why couldn’t this poor animal be tranquillized and relocated????????? Disgusting consequence for an innocent animal. Shame on the decision maker. Shame on the idiots who surrounded this poor animal. I lived in the north for 20 plus years, in the rural bush where you are forced to learn and adapt to the territory of nature. No need to kill, it’s just an easy out for whomever made that decision. Clear the humans away from surrounding it. It’s not a freak show, it’s a poor innocent animal who lost its way. This disgusts me……

  8. It was completely unessary to shoot that bear it wasn’t bothering anyone until people started with it they are hungry do you expect you want it to stop do something positive about it and gonin the bush throw our all your old berries plant seeds plant berry bushes next year you’ll see less and less of them the more food that’s in the bush I know I live in the bush

  9. For all concerned like myself about the Bears and the latest Bear taken, please attend my Awareness and Ceremony.
    I am Native Indigenous Status of First Nations and take the Bear and Animals in all respects to their safety and happiness.
    I will speak on Safety and Honour Our Bears and their Humanity. Also holding a Ceremony for the latest Bear.
    Saturday June 15th 3pm.
    Appreciate the Support.

  10. I didn’t think it was a problem bear to begin with , it was fearful if that what you called a problem ; relocating a bear even if it returns is the humane thing to do, and yes people need to do their part and keep their garbage put away properly and bbq’s clean

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