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Beware of bears early this spring

By CJ Goater Mar 7, 2024 | 10:58 AM

chrisgrier / CC

If you plan on going on an outdoor adventure or live in a rural area, beware of bears.

This year’s unseasonably warm winter and lack of snow have led to reports of black bears coming out of hibernation early in parts of the province according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

At this time of year, there are not a lot of natural food options for bears, leading them to search for food wherever they can find it, including your garbage, bird feed, or dirty barbeque.

According to the MNRF taking these simple precautions can help prevent attracting bears to your home and neighbourhood:

  • Storing garbage in waste containers with tight-fitting lids (indoors if possible)
  • Waiting until pickup day to put out garbage
  • Taking away bird feeders for the spring and summer (you can offer birds natural alternatives, such as flowers, nesting boxes, and fresh water)
  • Cleaning food residue and grease from outdoor barbecue grills – including grease traps – after each use
  • Keeping pet food indoors

Bears entering your community are not necessarily a threat, but it is important to know who to call if you encounter one.

The province operates a non-emergency, toll-free bear-wise reporting line 1-866-514-2327.

Because of the unseasonably warm weather this year, the line is open early, from March 1 to November 30, and is available 24/7.

If a bear is posing an immediate threat by showing threatening or aggressive behaviour, remain calm and call 911.