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black bear Peter Mazurek270The Bruce Peninsula Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is reminding residents to take simple precautions this spring to prevent attracting black bears as they come out of hibernation. The hungry bears will be seeking sources of food that can include garbage and bird feed.

The potential for human-bear conflict increases when there is little natural food available for bears. If this happens, black bears will search for other food sources, such as garbage and bird feed, which can draw bears to populated areas.

Following these tips will help to minimize the chances of attracting bears:

  •  Store garbage in waste containers with tight-fitting lids.

  • Put out garbage only on the morning of pickup.

  • Put away bird feeders. Seed, suet and nectar attract bears.

  • Pick fruits and berries as they ripen. Don't let them rot on the ground.

  • Clean outdoor barbecue grills after each use, including the grease trap underneath. Bears will be drawn by smells from great distances, including grease and food residue on grills. 

  • Keep dogs on leash; sometimes bears will follow off-leash dogs back to you.

Quick Facts

  • Bears will remember their last source of food and return there when hungry, sometimes travelling over 100 kilometres.

  • Since 2004, Ontario's Bear Wise program has been educating people about bears, how to avoid attracting bears and how to prevent human-bear conflicts.

If a bear is posing an immediate threat to public safety by exhibiting threatening or aggressive behavior, call 911.

For non-emergencies, the Ministry of Natural Resources operates the toll-free, 24/7 Bear Reporting Line (1-866-514-2327) and the Bear Wise website to provide the public with information and advice.