Natural food sources for bears in short supply

Parts of Ontario are experiencing shortages of natural food sources for bears.

Parry Sound and Muskoka areas are experiencing berry crop failure and shortages in nut crops.

Human-bear activity is directly related to the availability of natural foods. Given the current food situation, Parry Sound District is seeing an increase in reports of problem bears as bears search for alternate sources of food.

Bears rely on berry, acorn and beech nut crops to fatten up for hibernation and will travel great distances to find alternate sources of food when natural foods are poor or unavailable.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is urging residents and cottagers in Parry Sound District to take extra care to not attract bears to their neighborhood and reminds the public that the majority of bear encounters can be prevented. Please remove all birdfeeders including humming bird feeders. Safely store garbage until pickup day, clean barbecues, don’t leave coolers out, keep pet food indoors and feed birds only in winter.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry also encourages food service operations, such as restaurants or businesses with commercial dumpsters, to:
▪ Empty garbage and grease/fat containers frequently.
▪ Remove fruits and berries from trees as they ripen and do not leave them on the ground and bushes to rot.
▪ Use bear-resistant containers whenever possible.
▪ Lock dumpster lids every night.
▪ Avoid stockpiling garbage or grease/fat.
▪ Clean garbage containers frequently and thoroughly, using a strong disinfectant to eliminate odors.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry would like to thank the many people who are already eliminating attractants. It takes only one property where attractants are not managed carefully to draw bears to a neighbourhood. Everyone must work together to keep bears in the wild where they belong.

QUICK FACTS:
▪ If a bear poses an immediate threat to public safety by exhibiting threatening or aggressive behaviour, call 911 or your local police 705-746-4225 of OPP Parry Sound Detachment.
▪ For advice on reducing bear attractants, call the ministry’s Bear Wise reporting line toll-free at 1-866-514-2327; Hearing Impaired (TTY) 1-705-945-7641. You will be connected directly with a live operator during bear season (April 1-Nov. 30).
▪ Find out more about what to do in emergency and non-emergency situations.
▪ Visit ontario.ca/bearwise for more information on bears.