The Ontario government operates a Bear Wise program and provides valuable information on their website (ontario.ca/page/prevent-bear-encounters-bear-wise).
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has advised that a bear who has entered a populated area isn’t necessarily a threat, but it is important to know who to call during a bear encounter.
If a bear is posing an immediate threat to public safety by exhibiting threatening or aggressive behavior, call 911 for your local police service. For non-emergencies, the Province operates a toll-free Bear Wise reporting line (1-866-514-2327) from April 1st to November 30th to provide the public with information and best practices.
If you see a black bear, here are a few tips from the Bear Wise website:
- 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
- if the bear does not get closer to you, slowly back away, talking to the bear in a quiet, monotone voice
For more information:
Government of Ontario Website – Bear Wise program