Bear Sightings - What To Do If You Encounter A Bear
FROM: Huron County Detachment DATE: May 03, 2023
BEAR SIGHTINGS – WHAT TO DO IF YOU ENCOUNTER A BEAR
(HURON COUNTY, ON) – The Huron County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) does not receive many reports of black bear sightings in the County of Huron, however, there have been several bear sightings over the past few years. As we enter warmer weather, the Huron OPP would like to provide the following information provided by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF):
Black Bear Sightings
Black bears sightings are not frequent within Aylmer-Guelph District; however the district is part of the historical range of black bears in Ontario and as such dispersing bears can occasionally enter the district. These bears are often in search of a new home range or food.
Should the public encounter a black bear the MNRF recommends two courses of action:
- In an emergency call 9-1-1. This would be an immediate threat to personal or public safety.
- In a non-emergency call the MNRF BearWise reporting line (1-866-514-2327)
Below are some examples of potential situations that could occur and how they would be classified.
In the instance of an emergency, police would be the initial responder to the site and would need to contact the Provincial Communications Unit / BearWise reporting line (1-866-514-2327) to request assistance. It is important to remember that to receive MNRF support at the scene we MUST be notified through the BearWise reporting line that police services are requesting MNRF assistance. Once MNRF is in communication with the police services responding to the situation we will be able to work in conjunction to determine an appropriate course of action.
In the instance of a non-emergency situation police forces should collect information regarding the situation (what was the bear doing, when did you see it etc.) and the reporting individuals name, location and contact information. Police should then provide that information to the BearWise reporting line as this staff is trained to ensure that the information is directed to the appropriate MNRF staff for a timely response. The MNRF monitors the occurrence of non-emergency black bear sightings for trends in locations or escalating sightings. All BearWise calls are documented within the Bear Incident and Response Tracking Application (BIRTA) which is monitored regularly and used to track and manage black bears. In addition, MNRF staff contact the reporting individuals to provide education and advice on how prevent black bear conflicts and remain safe.
The BearWise website is a fantastic tool for not only the public but police forces and MNRF staff to learn about black bears. It covers who to call in emergency and non-emergency situations, what to do if you encounter a bear, bear biology and behaviours and preventing conflicts through the reduction of attractants. The BearWise website can be reached at: Be Bear Wise and prevent bear encounters | Ontario.ca