Dealing With Bears in the Community

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(WAWA, ON) – Public safety is important to the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) and the Municipality of Wawa. Bears that come into a populated area aren’t always a threat to public safety. Public safety is at risk when a bear poses an immediate threat to personal safety by exhibiting threatening or aggressive behaviour.

Who do I call?

Emergency Situations;  

Call 911 if a black bear exhibits threatening or aggressive behaviour, such as;

  • Entering a school yard when school is in session
  • Stalking people and lingering on site
  • Entering or trying to enter a residence
  • Wandering into public gathering
  • Killing livestock/ pets and lingering on site.

Non-Emergency Encounters;

Call the toll-free Bear Wise reporting line at 1-866-514-2327 (TTY 705-945-7641) if a black bear is;

  • Roaming around, checking garbage cans
  • Breaking into a shed where garbage or food is stored
  • In a tree
  • Pulling down a bird feeder or knocking over a barbecue
  • Moving through a backyard or field but is not lingering.

The line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week from April 1 until November 30.

  • Human- bear interactions are related to the availability of bears’ natural food sources. When natural food sources are unavailable, black bears will search for other food. Items such as garbage and bird feed can draw bears to populated areas. Take care by:
  • Storing garbage in waste containers with tight-fitting lids
  • Putting out garbage only on the morning of pickup
  • Filling bird feeders, including seed, suet and nectar only during the winter when bears are hibernating
  • Cleaning food residue and removing grease from outdoor barbecue grills after each use
  • Keeping pet food indoors.

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