Ontario Newsroom

Be Bear Wise This Spring

Archived News Release

Be Bear Wise This Spring

Ontario, OPP Remind People What to do as Bears Come out of Hibernation

Ontario and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are reminding people to take simple precautions this spring to prevent attracting black bears as they come out of hibernation.

The potential for human-bear conflicts increases when there is little natural food available for bears. If this happens, black bears will search for other food sources, such as garbage and bird feed, which can draw bears to populated areas.

Follow these simple instructions to minimize the chances of attracting bears:

  • Store garbage in waste containers with tight-fitting lids.
  • Put out garbage only on the morning of pickup.
  • Put away bird feeders. Seed, suet and nectar also attract bears.
  • Pick fruits and berries as they ripen -- don't let them rot on the ground.
  • Clean outdoor barbecue grills after each use, including the grease trap underneath. Bears will be drawn by smells from great distances, including grease and food residue on grills. 

Bears that enter a populated area aren't necessarily a threat to public safety. Public safety is at risk when a bear poses an immediate threat to your safety.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and OPP have agreed on the roles and responsibilities for both organizations to help the public understand which organization to contact when they encounter a bear.

If a bear is posing an immediate threat to public safety by exhibiting threatening or aggressive behaviour, call 911 or your local police. At the request of police, during daylight hours the Ministry of Natural Resources will respond to emergency situations to assist. For non-emergencies, the Ministry of Natural Resources operates the toll-free, 24/7 Bear Reporting Line (1-866-514-2327) and the Bear Wise website to provide the public with information and advice.

Quick Facts

  • Since 2004, Ontario’s Bear Wise program has been educating people about bears, how to avoid attracting bears and how to prevent human-bear conflicts.

Background Information

Additional Resources

  • Learn more about what you can do to keep bears out of your neighbourhood at ontario.ca/bearwise.


“Nuisance bears are a very serious public safety concern, and while our government is taking steps to address this issue, it is also important for Ontarians to do their part in helping to minimize bear attractants. Taking simple steps to properly store garbage will help keep bears out of our neighbourhoods.”

David Orazietti

Minister of Natural Resources

“I urge Ontarians to take all necessary steps to reduce their interactions with bears. If there is an immediate threat to public safety from a bear, the OPP will respond in our jurisdiction to protect our citizens with the assistance of the Ministry of Natural Resources.”

Vince Hawkes

Commissioner, Ontario Provincial Police

Media Contacts

  • Media Calls only: Andrew Donnachie

    Minister’s Office


  • Media Calls Only: Media Desk

    Communications Services Branch


  • Sgt. Pierre Chamberland

    Ontario Provincial Police




Environment and Energy Health and Wellness Home and Community Rural and North Travel and Recreation Aboriginal People Children and Youth Francophones Newcomers Parents Seniors Women