Sudbury residents dealing with plenty of bears

by Megan McPhaden | August 15, 2015

bear-stare

With so many bears in the Sudbury District, officials and residents are a little more wary this summer.

In the past week, Sudbury police were called to shoot three bears in two days and calls to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) Bear Wise Hotline are coming in at a significant pace.

It’s estimated that 33% of nuisance bear reports made to Bear Wise in Ontario this summer have come from the Sudbury District. The summer bear hunting season for northern Ontario opened on August 15.

Aside from the calls to the Bear Wise Hotline, police say hundreds more residents are also calling police. The Sudbury police chief stated the number of emergency calls is impacting local resources and officers.

The Sudbury Star reported MPP Frances Gelinas as saying people in her riding have tried to use the Bear Wise Hotline but felt dismissed due to lack of action.

According to Sudbury police, they responded after contacting the MNRF who notified them that staff are not available to respond after office hours.

Gelinas, along with other northern Ontario MPPs, say they are responding. Together they have created www.northernbearreport.com. The website collects reports, videos and photos of bears in urban areas. The information will then be presented to Bill Mauro, the minister of Natural Resources and Forestry.

Among the suggestions on handling the nuisance bear problem are the use of bear-herding dogs. It’s a tactic already used by the Alberta government to deter grizzly and black bears.

A two-year pilot spring bear hunt was introduced for 2014 and 2015.
The proposal, posted on the Environmental Registry back in 2014, stated the pilot project would be evaluated by:

  • tracking the number and type of calls to the Bear Wise reporting line from the pilot area and other communities, to compare results;
  • monitoring the number of bear hunters and the number of bears harvested;
  • working with the pilot municipalities to identify changing trends in human-bear encounters, and;
  • working with municipalities to explore ways to limit human-bear interactions such as tracking the number of municipal bylaws to discourage the feeding of bears.

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