Tuesday 16 June 2009

Bear Alert

It seems the bears are hungry. We spotted this bear in early June, on our way to Gravenhurst. People keep a bird list, I am keeping a wildlife list...

At 7:00 a.m. neighbours spotted a bear on our road. The word spread, but not to us! Thanks, neighbours!

Tonight, after 7:00 p.m., another neighbour came by to tell us his story. He was BBQing when said bear ambled by for its hamburger. He didn't share. I am sure the bear was not amused.

The police came quite quickly. An officer drove in his vehicle around the road. So good to see someone who can help, with a gun! It is true that they just want food, but the garbage sitting around is attracting them. While all my bird feeders are down, I guess I have to use up the last of the hummingbird food and put it away, too.

The bears are around. Here is another blogger's photo. If you want to learn a lot about bears, read Nevada Barr's book Blood Lure. It is phenomenal! She has researched the scientists and their methods of studying bears. Lots of good information.

Read Nancy Tapley's blog for more bear info!

The MNR provides some information.
IN AN IMMEDIATE EMERGENCY in Ontario: contact your local police force or dial 911

TO REPORT BEAR PROBLEMS: contact the Bear Reporting Line at:
1-866-514-BEAR (2327) (TTY) 705 945-7641
  • Make garbage and composting inaccessible to wildlife:
    • Use heavy garbage cans with locking lids
    • Fasten lids with bungee cords
    • Put garbage out the morning of pick-up, not overnight
  • Use motion-sensitive floodlights to startle and scare away wildlife
  • Keep pet doors locked at night
  • Do not leave pet food outside overnight
  • Keep BBQ grills clean and close BBQ lids after use
  • Close your doors, screens won't keep them out
Of course, you cannot leave the cottage on a Sunday afternoon, and leave your garbage out unprotected until garbage day on Wednesday. Even our neighbour's garbage bins were overturned in the bear's little tour yesterday.

Also, we wash all of our recycling carefully, to remove all telltale odours of food!

Biology of black bears
  • A slow reproducing mammal
  • Their first litter of cubs: between the ages of five and seven years old.
  • The average litter size is two to three cubs.
  • Bears produce cubs every two years at most.
  • To produce cubs the following year: she must consume enough food during the spring and fall.

Ontario's black bear population is stable and is estimated to be between 75,000 and 100,000 bears. Central Ontario's population is about 40 - 60 bears / 100 sq. km , with the highest density around Algonquin Park.

In October and November of 2008, six workshops were held in the communities of Dryden, Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Timmins, Parry Sound and Bancroft. They continue to try to convince people to protect themselves and prevent bears from coming around for food!

The MNR says:

"While black bears will eat carrion, insects, fish, deer and moose calves, the bulk of their diet is plant material. Their natural preference is to find lots of high energy food – like huge berry patches – that will help them fatten up fast. Their survival and ability to have and raise young depend on their ability to double their weight before going into winter hibernation.

The availability of their natural food varies from abundant, to normal to poor. When natural food sources are poor, black bears will travel long distances to seek out alternative sources of food."

If you spot a black bear:
  • Stay calm. Often the bear is simply passing through
  • Do not run away. Walk slowly backwards towards a building or vehicle and get inside
  • If you have children and pets, bring them inside too
  • Once indoors, observe the bear. Did it move on or did it stay on your property? If the bear stayed, what was it doing or eating?
  • Encourage the bear to leave. Bang pots and pans, or blow an air horn or whistle. The more stressful a bear’s encounter with you, the less likely it is to come back
  • If the bear got food (like garbage or bird food), or if the bear tried to get food, you will need to remove or control the item that attracted the bear
  • Once the bear leaves, remove the attractant and assess your property for other possible attractants like garbage; dirty barbecue; bird or pet food or fruit or berries from your trees or bushes
  • It is possible for a bear to return even though you removed the attractant. Bears do return to places where they have found food. Once the bear does not get food, it will move on
  • If a bear is in a tree, leave it alone. Remove people and dogs from the area. The bear will usually come down and leave when it feels safe
Before you leave the cottage:
  • Remove your garbage. Take it home or drop it off at the dump on your way out
  • Use a strong disinfectant to eliminate all odours from garbage and recycling containers and lids
  • Never discard cooking grease outside.
  • Store your BBQ in a secure shed. Make sure it is clean.
  • Do not leave any food or food scraps outdoors for pets or other wildlife
  • When packing up, remember to remove all the food from the inside of your cottage – a box of pudding or fruit-flavoured dessert mix may be all it takes to attract the bear
  • Do not leave scented products outside. Even non-food items like suntan lotion, insect repellent, soap and candles may attract bears
  • Close and lock all windows and doors
  • If you are away for an extended period of time, have a neighbour or someone in the area occasionally do a walk around to look for signs of a bear visitor or break in. Let the person know where and how to contact you
Teachers: teach your students...download these for more info-
Part One |Part Two |Part Three |Part Four

Related Links


Oman said...

this is a very helpful info. thanks for sharing.

Nancy said...

I have come face-to-face with a lot of bears over the years in North Muskoka. The vast majority are just passing through... they want as little to do with you as you do with them.
Food is the big thing -- as you point out.
And remember that Hummngbird feeders are one of the biggest attractions for black bears: nothing like a sweet drink on a hot day!!!

Ebie said...

Very interesting! My first experience of "do not feed the bear" was when I was in Mammoth Lakes last month, and I had difficulty opening the garbage bin, because they have a special latch, so bears cannot open them.

Martha Z said...

At the cabin I have a lagrge metal box of the type used to secure tools at a construction site. It way 150 pounds, the bears can move it a bit but can not get to the trash inside. Years of drought have put pressure on the bears of California, there is not enough natural food.

SUSAN said...

Thanks for sharing. I have always been very careful about garbage but I never thought about scented candles! Luckily we have not had bear problems but the neighbours on the other side of the lake have had some sightings.

Indrani said...

Interesting info shared.
In city we hardly have such close encounters.

Crafty Green Poet said...

very interesting post, thankfully no black bears likely to appear here!

Anonymous said...

Tuesday June 30th at 7:30 am a very skinny black bear walked in front of our cottage all along the shore line. We are located on the Joseph River, on Riverdale Rd.