Georgian Bluffs reminding residents of how to avoid attracting bears

https://www.owensoundsuntimes.com/news/local-news/georgian-bluffs-reminding-residents-of-how-to-avoid-attracting-bears

Author of the article:Rob GowanPublishing date:Jun 03, 2021  •  1 day ago  •  4 minute read  •   Join the conversation

A black bear that made its way into Owen Sound in May 2015.
A black bear that made its way into Owen Sound in May 2015. PHOTO BY SUN TIMES FILES

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Georgian Bluffs is informing its residents about bears after sightings of the animals in the municipality this spring.

The municipality intends to post some information on its website about what people should do when encountering the animals and how to prevent bear encounters. The move comes after the animals were spotted in the municipality in recent days, particularly in the northern areas around Lake Charles, Kemble, Big Bay and beyond.18 best online deals in the Canadian retail space right now about:blankhttps://c5x8i7c7.ssl.hwcdn.net/vplayer-parallel/20210408_1900/videojs/show.html?controls=1&loop=30&autoplay=0&tracker=dd232393-332c-4f91-a9f7-ab0b8af74069&height=300&width=529&vurl=%2F%2Fa.jsrdn.com%2Fvideos%2Fcdgv_nationalpost%2F20210604054241_60b9bb8242865%2Fcdgv_nationalpost_trending_articles_20210604054241_60b9bb8242865_new.mp4&poster=%2F%2Fa.jsrdn.com%2Fvideos%2Fcdgv_nationalpost%2F20210604054241_60b9bb8242865%2Fcdgv_nationalpost_trending_articles_20210604054241_60b9bb8242865_new.jpg

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Clerk Brittany Drury said during Wednesday’s council meeting that staff had reached out to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry about best practices pertaining to bear sightings. They have received some messaging that will be posted on the municipality’s website.

“We see this regularly every spring so we try to do a spring reminders commentary section on our website,” Drury said, adding they hope to have the information posted this week.

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Among the steps people are reminded to take are storing garbage in a bear-proof location until it is time for pickup, cleaning barbecues and grease traps, putting away bird feeders until winter months and keeping pet food indoors.

Mayor Dwight Burley reminded residents in rural areas to place their garbage out or in the bin at the end of their laneway on the day of pickup only.

“A bear tends to want to go where the foodsource is and if there is garbage sitting in their bins for quite a while it will probably attract them,” said Burley.

Council discussed the possibility of signs informing residents of numbers they could call to report bear sightings and damage or in the event of an emergency.

It was suggested that the municipality could include information on its digital signs at its municipal office in Springmount and at the Shallow Lake Community Centre.

On Monday, a bear was also spotted on Owen Sound’s west side. The animal was not acting aggressively and was last seen wandering into the bush area of the escarpment.

The public is reminded that should they see a bear they should not approach it or feed it. Remain calm as the bear is often just passing through and will move on if no food source is found. Pets should be kept inside if a bear is spotted and if personal safety is at risk, 911 should be called.

If a bear slowly approaches, a person is advised to slowly back away, watching the bear. Do not turn and run – make noise, throw rocks or sticks and make yourself appear as big as possible.

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The MNR says bear attacks are rare, however if a bear does attack do not play dead unless you are sure it is a mother bear attacking you in defence of its cubs. Fighting back is the best chance of discouraging a bear from continuing to attack, so use a large stick, a rock, or anything else that you can to deter the bear.

If a bear is wandering around checking garbage or knocking down bird feeders, the public should call the administration line of their local police department or the Bear Wise reporting line at 1-866-514-2327.

More information on what to do if a black bear is encountered and how to prevent such encounters, visit ontario.ca/page/prevent-bear-encounters-bear-wise.

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