Bear numbers ever-dwindling

With autumn in full swing and temperatures dropping, the number of bears reported in town continues to decline, bylaw enforcement officer Dave Egan said this morning.
“This week, we’ve had one or two sightings per day, [and] most have happened through the night,” he noted. “But it’s now becoming ‘bear-able. It’s slowing down.
The most recent call occurred Wednesday when one cub was in the 700 block of First Street West.
“No sow or anything in the vicinity. So we tranquilized it and relocated it,” said Egan.
There were about 80 reports of bears in town during the first three weeks of September, but only about seven in the last week of that month and seven this past week, for a total of 94.
“And some of those could be the same bear,” noted Egan, adding not all of the reports required bylaw enforcement officers to take action, either.
Only one bear—a 327-pound adult female which had climbed a tree outside the Ministry of Natural Resources office here Sept. 20—had to be “dispatched” (fatally shot).
Egan noted this has been one of the busiest years in recent memory when it came to bear activity—second only to 1995.
“[1995] was one of the busiest we ever had. The police and MNR were involved. Bears were shot. That sort of thing,” he recalled.
But even with bear sightings becoming increasingly rare, Egan said residents should continue to take measures to discourage bear activity “for just a little bit longer.”
“The citizens deserve credit, most of them started to place their garbage out on the day of collection. I think that’s helped,” he remarked.
These measures, provided by the local Ministry of Natural Resources, also include:
•Do not leave pet food outdoors;
•Thoroughly clean outdoor grills after use;
•Fill bird feeders only through the winter months;
•Do not put meat, fish, or sweet food (including fruit) in your composter;
•Don’t compost with open containers;
•Keep meat scraps in the freezer until garbage pick-up day;
•Remove vegetables and fallen fruit from the ground;
•Clean up any garbage in your yard;
•Ensure dumpster lids are closed; and
•Leave the bears alone—remember, they’re wild and highly unpredictable.
Residents with bear complaints are directed to call the OPP’s communications centre (1-888-310-1122).