From August 1 to 31, 2016, the West Parry Sound OPP responded to 36 bear complaints within the Parry Sound area.
But they say the mere sight of a bear does not necessarily constitute an immediate threat to public safety.
Making things worse is the Parry Sound District is experiencing berry crop failure and shortages in nut crops.
Human-bear activity is directly related to the availability of natural foods. Given the current food situation, Parry Sound District is seeing an increase in reports of problem bears as they search for alternate sources of food.
Bears rely on berry, acorn and beech nut crops to fatten up for hibernation and will travel great distances to find alternate sources of food when natural foods are poor or unavailable.
The OPP is urging residents and cottagers in Parry Sound District to take extra care to not attract bears to their neighbourhood and reminds the public that the majority of bear encounters can be prevented. Please remove all birdfeeders including humming bird feeders. Safely store garbage until pickup day, clean barbecues, don’t leave coolers out, keep pet food indoors and feed birds only in winter. Remove fruits and berries from trees as they ripen and do not leave them on the ground and bushes to rot.
The OPP will respond to emergency calls about wild animals if there is an immediate threat to the public.
Police will generally utilize the siren equipped on the patrol vehicle to drive away a bear, but with their limited food sources will likely return if steps aren’t taken to remove the food source.
Police will only destroy the bear as a last resort if the bear if posing an immediate threat to property or the public.
The simple fact that bears are wandering around town is not a police matter and if left alone they will go about their business and leave.
Only call 9-1-1, if a bear poses an immediate threat to public safety by exhibiting threatening or aggressive behavior.
For advice on reducing bear attractants, call the ministry’s Bear Wise reporting line toll-free at 1-866-514-2327; Hearing Impaired (TTY) 1-705-945-7641. You will be connected directly with a live operator during bear season (April 1-Nov. 30).