Bears coming out of hibernation early

by Mariam Kasem | March 4, 2024
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Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are asking the public to be cautious with black bears starting to come out of hibernation early because of the mild winter.

Some parts of the province are reporting early black bear sightings, the province and OPP stated in a March 1 release.

Bears gravitate to searching for garbage and bird feed as there is a scarcity of natural food at this time of year. 

Bear prevention tips

Prevent bears from being attracted to your home and neighbourhood with these following tips:

  • Store garbage in waste containers with tight lids (indoors is recommended) 
  • Clean grease and food residue from barbecue grills and grease traps
  • Avoid leaving pet food outdoors
  • Remove bird feeders for the spring and summer (alternatively offering natural sustenance such as fresh water, nesting boxes, flowers) 
  • Wait to put garbage outdoors until pickup day

An additional reminder to keep your dogs leashed as unleashed dogs can cause defensive bear attacks. 

Bears entering the community are not automatically a threat, however, if you encounter one and it’s not an emergency, it is important to call the province’s non-emergency, toll-free Bear Wise reporting line (1-866-514-2327).

The line is open early this year from March 1 to November 30 and is available 24 hours a day for seven days of the week. 

If you encounter a bear that is threatening or aggressive and poses an immediate risk, remain calm and call 911 or your local police department. 

For more information on what constitutes a bear emergency, click here

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