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Shortage in food sources bringing hungry bears to Parry Sound area, locals urged to be careful

Shortages in natural food sources are leading to more human-bear encounters in our own backyard.

That’s according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, which has put out a statement urging residents in the Parry Sound area to take extra care to not attract bears to their homes and neighbourhood. MNRF officials say our area is experiencing sporadic berries and shortages in nut crops, both the go-to food for bears in the region.

The ministry says, as a result, the area is seeing an increase in reports of problem bears searching for alternate food sources. Officials say bears rely on berry and acorn crops to fatten up for hibernation and will travel great distances to find alternate food sources when natural foods are poor or unavailable. 

The ministry included a list of ways for Parry Sounders to Remove any bear attractants and help keep communities safe.

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Those include; 

  • Storing garbage in waste containers with tight-fitting lids (indoors if possible)
  • Waiting until garbage pickup day 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, including grease traps, after each use
  • Keeping pet food indoors
  • Picking ripe fruit from trees and off the ground

Officials add that foodservice operations, such as restaurants or businesses with commercial dumpsters, are encouraged to:

  • Empty garbage and grease/fat containers frequently
  • Use bear-resistant containers
  • Lock dumpster lids every night
  • Avoid stockpiling garbage or grease/fat
  • Clean garbage containers frequently and thoroughly, using a strong disinfectant to eliminate odours

If a bear poses an immediate threat to public safety by exhibiting threatening or aggressive behaviour, call 911 or your local police at 1-705-746-4225. 

For advice on reducing bear attractants, call the Bear Wise reporting line toll-free at 1-866-514- 2327, hearing impaired (TTY) 1-705-945-7641. 

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