Brock Township is reminding residents to be wary of bears after one was spotted along the Cannington nature trail.
In a message to residents Wednesday (June 7), the Township urged residents to exercise caution and shared a wealth of information on how to avoid an encounter with a bear.
“Their entire life revolves around food. When they are not hibernating, bears spend most of their time looking for food. From the time they come out of hibernation until berry crops are available, bears live off their stored fat and the limited energy provided by fresh spring greens. They get most of their food energy by feeding on summer berry crops like blueberries, raspberries, and cherries. In the fall, they turn their attention to hazel nuts, mountain ash, acorns and beech nuts,” reads the Bear Wise bulletin from the Province.
“Though black bears will eat carrion, insects, fish, deer fawns and moose calves, the bulk of their diet is plant material. Their natural preference is to find lots of high energy food – like berry patches – that will help them fatten up fast. Their survival and ability to have and raise young depend on their ability to put on weight before going into winter hibernation. The availability of their natural food varies from season to season and from year to year. When natural food sources are poor, black bears will travel long distances to seek out alternative sources of food.”
While bears typically avoid humans, they are attracted into urban and rural areas to get food.
“When bears pick up a scent with their keen noses, they will investigate it. If they find bird food, garbage or pet food they will return as long as the food source is available,” the bulletin reads.
One of the easiest ways of avoiding contact with a bear is removing or mitigating attractants. They include:
- Put garbage out only on the morning of garbage day, not the night before;
- Put garbage in containers that have tight-fitting lids and store it in a bear-proof location such as your basement or a sturdy garage;
- Spray garbage cans and lids with bleach or another a strong disinfectant;
- Take garbage to the dump often, if you do not have curbside pick-up;
- Fill bird feeders only through the winter months;
- Put away feeders in the spring and instead, offer birds natural alternatives (e.g. flowers, nesting boxes, fresh water);
- Do not leave pet food outdoors, including porches and screened-in areas;
Fruits and berries
- Pick all ripe and fallen fruit from trees and shrubs on your property;
- Plant non-fruit bearing trees and shrubs;
- Burn off food residue and wash the grill right away;
- Empty the grease trap every time you barbecue; and,
- Remove all utensils, dishes and food after eating;
If you do see a black bear, don’t panic.
“When bears are caught off guard, they are stressed, and usually just want to flee. Generally, the noisier the bear is, the less dangerous it is, provided you don’t approach the bear. The noise is meant to ‘scare’ you off and acts as a warning signal,” the bulletin reads.
Follow these tips:
- Do not try to get closer to the bear for a better look or picture;
- Make sure the bear has a clear escape route — don’t corner a bear;
- Always watch the bear and slowly back away until the bear is out of sight;
- Get inside, if you are near a building or vehicle;
- Leave the area, if you are berry-picking, hiking, camping, jogging or cycling;
- If you are with others, stay together and act as a group; and,
- If the bear does not get closer to you, slowly back away, talking to the bear in a quiet, monotone voice.
Residents are asked to call the Bear Wise reporting line at 1-866-514-2327 if a bear is spotted roaming around. In an emergency situation, call 911.