Provincial officials say food shortage is bringing hungry bears to the area


Shortages of natural food sources lead to more human-bear encounters.

Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) officials say there are shortages across Ontario. Specifically, the Parry Sound area is facing “sporadic berry and nut crop shortages,” they said.

The shortage is leading to increased reports of bears searching for alternative food sources, officials say. They go on to explain that bears depend on berry and acorn crops to “grow out” for hibernation and will travel great distances to find other food sources when natural foods are poor or unavailable.

With that in mind, officials say residents around Parry Sound should be extra careful not to attract bears to their homes and neighborhoods.

Officials are urging everyone to take the following actions:

  • Store garbage in garbage containers with tight-fitting lids and keep indoors, if possible.
  • Wait until garbage collection day to take out the trash.
  • Storage of bird feeders for spring. Officials suggest offering birds natural alternatives, such as flowers, birdhouses and fresh water.
  • Clean food residue and grease from outdoor grills, including grease traps, after each use.
  • Keep pet food inside.
  • Gather ripe fruits from trees and from the ground.

Managers have a different set of recommendations for restore operations:

  • Empty garbage cans and grease/grease containers frequently.
  • Use bear-resistant containers.
  • Lock the dumpster lids every night.
  • Avoid storing garbage or grease/grease.
  • Frequently and thoroughly clean garbage cans using a strong disinfectant to remove odors.

If a bear poses an immediate threat to public safety by engaging in threatening or aggressive behavior, call 911 or your local police.

With files by Mo Fahim

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