There have been 190 calls into the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) Bear Wise line from the North Bay district so far in 2020, a big jump from last year’s 51.
Karen Passmore, Regional Outreach Specialist for the MNRF says that it’s mostly due to a late spring.
“Last year, the food for these bears was exceptional. This year [is a little different.] With our late spring, the grasses, and dandelions (which is what the bears first eat when they come out of hibernation) were delayed quite a bit.” she said.
Because of that lack of natural food, the bears are rummaging closer and closer to the city.
“Bears have a great memory… if they get a good meal from a garbage can once, they’re going to return again and again. It’s very important to make sure the garbage is out just on the day of pick up, and that bird feeders, which are always an issue, be taken down during the summer months,” she added.
The MNRF is asking North Bay residents, specifically the Ski Club Road area, to take the necessary steps to avoid attracting bears into local neighbourhoods.
Almost all reported incidents involve food waste in the garbage as well as bird feeders.
• If a bear poses an immediate threat to public safety by exhibiting threatening or aggressive behavior, call 911 or your local police.
• For advice on removing bear attractants, call the Bear Wise reporting line toll-free at 1-866-514-2327, Hearing Impaired (TTY) 1-705-945-7641. You will be connected with a live operator during bear season (April 1 to November 30).
• What to do in an emergency and non-emergency situations: https://www.ontario.ca/page/prevent-bear-encounters-bear-wise.
Read more about bears at ontario.ca/bearwise.