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How bear aware are you?

~wildlife education~

Did you know that problem bears aren’t born, they are made that way by human oversight.

A bear is attracted to a BBQ. Photo (c) Sylvia Dolson

Bears make daily excursions and may travel hundreds of kilometres in search of food. They require large amounts of food to prevent starvation during hibernation and to produce offspring. They are continually looking for food and that sometimes brings them into contact with humans. A bear’s sense of smell and hearing is far superior to humans. Hungry bears will enter a backyard or campground if they smell a barbecue or trash container. They are natural scavengers and have good memories, so they will return to sites where they have found food before.

If you go out hiking in bear country, come prepared with bear spray. Avoid wearing strong perfumes. Keep children close to you and always keep pets on a leash. If you see a bear, stay calm. Speak in a calm, firm voice and back away slowly but NEVER run.

Bears are strong and have been known to bend open car doors and pry open windshields in their search for food.

There are things we can do to prevent attracting bears to our cottage, home or campsite. Don’t leave any type of food, garbage or pet food where a bear can get at it. Store them inside or in a bear-proof container. Sixty percent of nuisance bear calls are due to garbage attracting them. Take your garbage away immediately and put it out at the curb just in time for your regular collection time (not the night before). Cooking grease, bones and waste parts of meat should be stored in the freezer until your garbage day. Do not put any meat or fish in a backyard compost bin.

Barbecues attract bears. Clean up cooking and eating areas promptly when finished and keep your grills clean and free from grease.

Suet, birdseed and hummingbird mixes may attract bears. If you have fruit trees, pick fruit and windfalls every day when ripe. If necessary, enclose composts, fruit trees, vegetable gardens and beehives with chain link or electric fencing, and keep pets inside at night.

Sadly, nuisance calls can lead to orphaned bear cubs. To care for them, NIWRA has been operating a Black Bear Rehabilitation Program for almost 30 years that was designed to prevent habituation and ensure the success of bears returning to the wild.

You can help the wildlife in care at NIWRA by making a financial contribution on our secure website. Thank you so much for caring about wildlife!




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