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MNRF asking you to be ‘Bear Wise’ this spring

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The spring thaw brings with it many things, including bears awakening from hibernation.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) and OPP are asking that you exercise caution when outdoors during this time of year because of the bears.

Officials say black bears that wake at this time, face a scarcity of natural food sources, leading to bears appearing near populated areas as they search for food in garbage or bird feeders.

Some tips offered by the MNRF and OPP include:

  • Storing garbage in waste containers with tight-fitting lids
  • Putting out garbage only on the morning of pickup
  • Putting away bird feeders for the spring (you can offer birds natural alternatives, such as flowers, nesting boxes and freshwater)
  • Cleaning food residue and grease from outdoor barbecue grills after each use
  • Keeping pet food indoors

Officials add that the presence of bears is not necessarily a threat, but if you encounter a bear, call the Bear Wise toll-free phone line at 1-866-514-2327. The line is open 24/7 from April 1 to November 30. If a bear is posing an immediate threat, call 9-1-1.

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