Wild Animals

Bear Facts and Tips

Black bear sightings are a regular aspect of life in Northern Ontario, even in "built up" areas of cities. During the late spring and early fall, sightings may become more frequent than usual. People are encouraged to use common sense to prevent dangerous situations or the destruction of property.

Call the 24-hour bear hotline at 1-866-514-BEAR (2327). Trained staff are on hand to determine the appropriate response to calls.

The following are some tips for residents who see a bear or find evidence of a bear:

  • If a bear is posing an immediate threat to people, or destroying property, telephone 9-1-1.
  • If the bear does not pose an immediate threat, your first action should be to "bear-proof" your property; that is, remove any of the items a bear might consider as potential food sources

Bears need space, shelter, security for their young, and food. Please give these creatures of the wild the respect they deserve by preventing problems before they occur.

What To Do About Rabies

A recent outbreak of the arctic fox strain of rabies has occurred in Northeastern Ontario. It is important for people to ensure that their children do NOT approach wild or stray animals. People should also ensure that their pets are properly vaccinated and not be allowed to run free. Rabies is fatal if untreated.

For further information, contact the North Bay & District Health Unit at 474-1400 and ask to speak to a public health inspector. You can also visit their website (www.myhealthunit.ca) and find more details.

Dealing With Nuisance Bears

Black bears, the smallest in North America, are common throughout the continent. They have a reputation for hanging around where an easy meal is available. And they'll eat just about anything from meat, fruit and nuts, to mushrooms and insects. Capable of intelligent problem-solving, especially where food is concerned, bears are persistent and opportunistic foragers from spring until fall. However, it is between early July and late September that black bears typically double their body weight as they prepare their bodies for the next winter's hibernation.

Black bear sightings are a regular aspect of life in Northern Ontario during spring and summer. If the bear is posing an immediate threat to people, telephone 9-1-1. If the bear does not pose an immediate threat, act to "bear-proof" your property (remove potential food items). If the bear persists with regular visits to your property, you may require the services of persons authorized to trap and relocate bears. You should telephone the MNR at 475-5550.

Bears need space, security for their young, and food. Please give these creatures of the wild the respect they deserve by preventing problems before they occur.

Through constant exposure to people, bears often learn not to fear them, and begin to make a connection between human activity and food.

Rural and semi-rural dwellers, as well as those Residents of subdivisions that back onto the bush, must remember that when they choose country living, they choose to live in the bears' neighborhood. Especially in years of berry-crop failures, they must keep their yards clean and free of things that attract bears, including pet food, dirty barbecues, composting material and rotting garbage. People should use common sense to prevent dangerous situations or the destruction of property.

The MNR's role in nuisance bear management is to provide educational material and advice on reducing human/bear interactions, arranging and authorizing alternate delivery programs and setting minimum operating standards, although the MNR continues to provide direct assistance to municipalities when exceptional circumstances arise. The MNR also continues to assist municipalities to develop effective nuisance bear control programs by ensuring that appropriately trained service delivery agents are in place.

For more information on bears, their habits, and how to deal with them, contact the hotline at 1-866-514-BEAR (2327)

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