black bear

Who to call if you encounter a bear

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Up until last year, when Ontario cottagers encountered a bear, they could call the Ministry of Natural Resources to trap and relocate it.

But because relocation practices didn’t seem to work—bears were often able to remember where they found food, and therefore returned to the same locations—calls to the Ministry started being funnelled directly to the OPP. 

So, if you’re feeling a little confused as to who you should contact if you encounter a bear, the Ministry has provided some examples.  

If a bear poses an immediate threat to personal safety by being threatening or aggressive, call 911. This may include “stalking people and lingering at the site,” entering or attempting to enter a residence, wandering into a public gathering, or killing pets. 

You should call the toll-free Bear Wise reporting line (1-866-514-2327) if the bear is  roaming around, checking garbage cans, breaking into a shed where garbage or food is stored, in a tree, moving through a backyard, but not lingering. 

For tips on how to reduce your chance of a bear encounter, read our articles: “How to deal with bears” and “Good advice for avoiding bears.”