Beware of bears, says animal control

With an increasing number of bears being sighted in town over the past couple of weeks, town bylaw officers and the OPP have had their hands full dealing with numerous calls about the nuisances.
“As of [Monday], we’ve had sightings pretty much in every part of town,” bylaw/animal control officer Dave Egan said Tuesday.
“We had to tranquilize one Monday morning near the Memorial [Sports Centre],” he added, noting not all bear reports they’ve responded to have had to be dealt with in this way.
Egan said the incursions are the result of bears looking for food, adding the problem likely will get worse before it gets better as winter approaches.
“But at least we’re not as bad off as some other places in this area,” he remarked.
And as more nuisance calls are expected in the near future, Egan reminded residents not to call the bylaw office but instead call the OPP communications centre at 1-888-310-1122.
According to an agreement between the town, Ministry of Natural Resources, and the OPP, complainants must go through the police first.
Complainants should be prepared to provide the following information to assist the OPP:
•the location of the bear;
•number of times bear sighted;
•time(s) of day bear sighted;
•possible attractants in area (birdfeeder, garbage, etc.); and
•what property damage occurred.
After a report is made to the OPP dispatcher, police either will continue to receive and monitor reports, or take action to secure public safety by having a bylaw officer and/or police attend the scene.
There, authorities will either deploy a live trap, immobilize and remove the bear, or if necessary, destroy it.
Egan noted those who report bears should be patient as removing one can take some time.
Meanwhile, some tips to follow when dealing with bears, and ensuring public safety, include:
•clean up any garbage in your yard (garbage has been responsible for attracting bears to certain areas in recent incidents);
•dumpster lids should be closed;
•after barbecuing, burn off the grills;
•don’t compost with open containers; and
•leave the bears alone—remember, they’re wild and highly unpredictable.
Users of the town landfill site off McIrvine Road should be cautious of bears when disposing of garbage there. Residents also are urged not to go to the landfill site just to see the bears.

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