It’s that time of year again, when hungry bears raid cottages and backyards looking for extra food to bulk up for the winter.
Since April 1, the Ontario Provincial Police have received more than 1,400 calls about nuisance bears. Bears have slashed through screen doors, ransacked barbecues, and broken into garages to get to the chow. One bear was even found eating cake out of a garbage near Ottawa.
Although it’s an annual occurrence, many cottagers forget to get their abodes ready for nuisance bear season.
“I’ve visited a couple of people’s cottages [where] the bear has broken into and raided the refrigerator and emptied out the cupboards. But in both cases it could have been prevented by having the doors closed,” said Mike McIntosh, who runs the Bear With Us sanctuary in Sprucdale, Ont., in an interview with the CBC.
“If you have the door closed and it’s only a screen door, that’s an open door to an animal. They just walk right through the screen.”
Until the natural berry season hits later this month, bears will continue ransacking vulnerable cottages.
The Ministry of Natural Resources says to prevent unwanted bears, put garbage in containers with tight-fitting lids, store pet food indoors, pick ripe fruit from trees and off the ground, and fill bird feeders only during the winter months.
According to the OPP, there have been no attacks this summer.
“[There are] no real attacks or anything to that nature. People are always concerned when…they’re in the yards, and pets are out and they’re concerned about young children,” OPP Staff Sgt. Carl Pettigrew said in an interview with the CBC. “But we’ve had no altercations per se.”