Ontario is Bear Country
By following a few Bear Wise habits, people can discourage bears from visiting their homes, farms, businesses, cottages and property. However, it takes everybody working together to keep bears away from communities and neighbourhoods.
Ontario is bear country. Chances are you live near bears.
If you are not convinced that people can eliminate bear activity, think about this. In 2010 the leading causes of bear problems were the result of:
- Residential garbage
- Food smells (including dirty barbecues)
- Fruit trees
Help keep people safe and bears wild. Here's how you can get involved:
- Learn about bears and what can attract them to your property.
- Know what you should do if you see or encounter a bear on your property.
- Take steps to remove or control items known to attract bears.
- Encourage your neighbours and your community to practice Bear Wise habits.
Black bears rarely attack people
While they can be dangerous, they are actually very timid animals. Since the early 1900s there have been fewer than 70 deaths in North American as a result of black bears.
While injuries and attacks are rare, we need to remember that bears are easily attracted to places where people live. Bears are attracted to communities by things like garbage, bird and pet food, and smells like grease and food residue on barbecues. They will investigate these non-natural food sources. If bears are successful at getting food they will return again and again. They will also lose their natural fear of humans if they are successful at finding food where humans live, camp, work or recreate.
Here are some precautions you can take:
At your home, camp or cottage:
- Feed birds only during the winter
- Keep your garbage away from bears
- Learn about black bears, signs of bear activity and how to prevent and handle encounters with bears.
- Be alert. Keep your eyes and ears open. Frequently scan your surroundings to check for bears.
- Take extra precautions with your food and garbage.
- Have a plan for garbage. Use bear-resistant containers wherever possible and secure the lids at all times.
- If you are in “back country” learn how to carry and use bear pepper spray. Know its limitations.
- Learn bear safety basics. Know how to prevent and handle encounters with bears.
Bear Wise Provincial Statistics
(LESS 9M COMMUNITY FUNDING)
|Community funding Program||194 projects from 96 communities||137 projects from 91 communities||117 projects from 77
|60 projects from 50 communities||83 projects from 70
|79 projects from 70 communities||0|
|*Number of Communities Participating in Bear Wise||138||120||177||230||275||TBD one district still to report||TBD|
|**Number of Occurrences||8547||10,500||7016||12,645||9745||13,020||9874|
*Includes MOU’s Response agreements and/or received Community Funding
**Resulted in action from a district – may vary from phone to on site response
Note: In 2007/2008 the criteria for community funding was modified to reflect a maturing of the program and supports large infrastructure type projects as opposed to the softer education and awareness projects. Less projects with higher $ values.
Number of Communities Participating in BW
|Fiscal Year||Target**||Actual Achieved|
* Based on 463 communities
2006/07 & beyond based on 577 communities
** forecasted based on optimism - no science to support that these numbers are achievable.
2006/2007 was the first year program targets were formally set based on estimated levels of participation. Out year targets may need to be assessed on further analysis from other jurisdictions and societal norms. This assessment could be included in the program evaluation.