Ontario and OPP Share Safety Tips as Bears Return From Hibernation
Ontario and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are reminding people to do their part to avoid human-bear interactions this spring, and encouraging them to check around their homes and remove the most popular bear attractants.
April is the beginning of bear season and with it comes an increase in bear sightings in urban areas. As bears wake up after a winter of hibernation, they are faced with a scarcity of natural food sources, leading black bears to forage for food in garbage cans and bird feeders.
Top tips for preventing bears from visiting your neighbourhood include:
- 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 grease from outdoor barbecue grills after each use
- Keeping pet food indoors.
Bears that enter your community are not necessarily a threat, but it is important to know who to call during a bear encounter. For non-emergencies, the province operates a toll-free Bear Wise reporting line (1-866-514-2327). The line is open 24/7 from April 1 to November 30 to provide useful information and best practices.
If a bear is posing an immediate threat by exhibiting threatening or aggressive behaviour, call 911 or your local police.
- Since 2004, Ontario’s Bear Wise program has been educating people on how to avoid attracting bears and how to prevent human-bear interactions.
- Bears will remember their last source of food and return there when hungry, sometimes travelling over 100 kilometres.
Who to call during a bear encounter