Bears are waking up from hibernation, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) remind you to exercise caution this spring.
Bears waking up from hibernation are faced with a scarcity of natural food sources, leading them to look for food in garbage cans and bird feeders.
You can prevent bears from visiting your home and neighbourhood by:
- Storing garbage in waste containers with tight-fitting lids (indoors if possible)
- Waiting until the day of garbage pickup to put out garbage
- Putting away bird feeders for the spring (you can offer birds natural alternatives, such as flowers, nesting boxes and fresh water)
- Cleaning food residue and grease from outdoor barbecue grills after each use
- Keeping pet food indoors
Bears that enter your community are not necessarily a threat, but it is important to know who to call if you encounter a bear. For non-emergencies, the province operates a toll-free Bear Wise reporting line (1-866-514-2327). The line is open 24/7 from April 1 to November 30.
If a bear is posing an immediate threat by exhibiting threatening or aggressive behaviour, remain calm and call 911 or your local police department.