Bear warnings in Bells Corners

Ottawa police and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources are warning people in the west-end neighbourhood of Bells Corners to be on the lookout for bears, after three separate spottings Wednesday night.
Three bear sightings Wednesday night in west-end Ottawa capped a week of dozens of spottings in the area. 0:23

Authorities are warning people in the west-end neighbourhood of Bells Corners to be on the lookout for bears, after three separate spottings Wednesday night capped a week in which dozens of people called 911 about the animals.

Two homeowners near Lynwood Park say they saw a black bear roaming in their backyards, while a third homeowner spotted a bear climbing a tree on Wednesday night.

"I had the door open and I'm looking at him, he's looking at me. And I said, 'I better call the cops,' " said Steve Moore, who caught a bear prowling his yard around midnight looking for snacks. The creature came right up to the door. "It kind of startled me of course. It was like, 'Geez, I was close.' "

Police called to the area said they believed the sightings were all for the same bear, but the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources said at least three black bears are roaming the neighbourhood.

CBC video journalist Simon Gardner captured new video of the bear Thursday morning.

What to do if you spot a bear

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources has a guide to handling black bears, including:

There have been many black bear sightings over the last week in the area, which backs onto forested land in Ottawa's greenbelt. The ministry said bears often search for new territories in June, which is probably why a mother, her cub and an adolescent male keep wandering into the neighbourhood.

Two of those sightings were reported near Bell High School. Bell principal Bruce Whitehead issued a statement Tuesday asking students to travel in groups and avoid pathways through the woods when leaving the school.  Police have also advised residents to avoid the trails.

Ingrid Vandusen spotted a bear crossing her road earlier this week, which she said was "very scary."

"We can't let the dog out. I'm scared of walking the dog in the morning," she said.

The National Capital Commission said it is working with the Natural Resources Ministry to locate and move the bears from the area, with ministry officials setting up two cages in the woods to try to catch them. The ministry said it's also prepared to tranquilize the bears if they pose a threat. 

People who come into contact with a bear should try to walk away quietly, and should not make loud noises or try to run away, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources.

For people who live close to the bear sightings, it's recommended to remove bird feeders, pet food, garbage and green bins from outdoors. As well, cleaning out a barbecue gets rid of the smell of leftover grease, which can attract bears.