As black bears begin to come out of hibernation, the Ontario government and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) advocate caution. The bears will be experiencing a scarcity of natural food sources, so they may look for food in garbage cans and bird feeders.
To prevent this, the government recommends that garbage be kept indoors in waste containers with tight-fitting lids until waste-collection day. As well, bird feeders should be brought inside and replaced with natural alternatives, such as flowers, nesting boxes, and fresh water. Pet food should also be kept indoors, and barbecues should be scrubbed thoroughly to prevent leaving behind food residue.
Bears aren’t always a threat but paying attention to when bears enter a community is important. If a bear is spotted anywhere in the community, remain calm and call the non-emergency, toll-free Bear Wise reporting line at 1-866-514-2327. The line is open 24/7 from April 1 to November 30.
If a bear is showing threatening or aggressive behaviour, remain calm and call 911 or the local police department.