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Several bear sightings reported to MNRF

The very mild winter, and the spring weather we’ve already experienced means  several bear sightings reported to the MNRF, much earlier than most years.

Outreach specialist Meghan Forbes says some of them are waking up earlier from hibernation… while others’ dens are being flooded out.

“Some bears might find another spot to sleep, or they might start searching for food,” she notes, adding that the bears’ traditional breakfast isn’t readily available this early.

“The first things that bears are going to look for is grasses and dandelions, especially near roadways, because the snow tends to leave alongside the roadways a little sooner than in the bush.”

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In any spring, food is limited and doesn’t last long, so the animals are drawn to unnatural attractants in urban areas.

“That’s why it’s always important for the public to manage their attractants early, including their garbage and bird feeders,” says Forbes, “and things that could make a nice snack for the bears.”

Tips for managing those attractants and other advice from Forbes are printed below.


  • Put garbage out only on the morning of garbage day and keep your containers clean
  • Put away feeders in the spring and instead, offer birds natural alternatives (for example, flowers, nesting boxes and fresh water)
  • Plant non-fruit bearing trees and shrubs
  • Do not leave pet food outdoors, in screened-in areas or porches
  • Keep your dogs on a leash
  • Keep an eye on your kids

Call 911 or your local police if a bear poses an immediate threat to personal safety and exhibits threatening or aggressive behaviour.

Call the toll-free Bear Wise reporting line at 1-866-514-2327 or TTY 705-945-7641 if a bear:

  • roams around or checks garbage cans
  • breaks into a shed where garbage or food is stored
  • is in a tree
  • pulls down a bird feeder or knocks over a barbecue
  • moves through a backyard or field but does not linger


This line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


For more information on how to prevent encounters with bears, visit

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