Black bears are starting to come out of hibernation, prompting a safety warning from the OPP and the MNR. Police say the bears will be out looking for food, and the potential for human-bear interactions are higher when the food supply is low. If that happens, the bears will start coming into residential areas, sniffing out garbage, fruits, and BBQ’s. The OPP is releasing the following safety tips:

  • Store garbage in waste containers with tight-fitting lids.
  • Put out garbage only on the morning of pickup.
  • Put away bird feeders. Seed, suet and nectar attract bears.
  • Pick fruits and berries as they ripen. Don’t let them rot on the ground.
  • Clean outdoor barbecue grills after each use, including the grease trap underneath. Bears wil be drawn by smells from great distances, including grease and food residue on grills.
  • Keep dogs on leash; sometimes bears will follow off-leash dogs back to you.

If you see a bear, and it is posing an immediate threat, call 911. Otherwise you can call the bear hotline at 1-866-514-2327 or report it online to the Bear Wise website.