The Ministry of Natural Resources will no longer send technicians to trap and relocate pesky bears. Minister Michael Gravelle said bears just return to the community — so the program isn't effective.
But that worries Nipigon mayor Richard Harvey, who said people may start shooting bears if the trapping option is no longer available.
"One of the concerns that always [come] in this kind of situation is … people [will] move towards the 'shoot, shovel and shut up' mentality," Harvey said. "That is not an appropriate response, I believe."
Gravelle said he doesn't think there should be a "leap to assuming that ... there (will) be more shootings of the bears."
"Whether or not that decision [to shoot a bear] is made is different in each individual case," he said. "I don't think these particular changes ... mean there will be a change in how these things are handled. It still depends on what the circumstances are. We are still going to be there, providing the advice ... to the individuals [who] call the [MNR]."
Gravelle said ministry staff is available, 24-hours-a-day, to give advice by phone. He added if people see a bear, and believe it's an emergency, they should call 911.
"The OPP and the police forces are there to provide that particular service and … in emergency situations … [MNR] staff will provide whatever assistance they can," Gravelle said.
Harvey questioned whether police should be responsible for dealing with the bear issue and he demanded more clarity.
"What does it mean that the MNR ... will still respond in emergencies?" he asked. "I don't know."
Harvey noted that, "with the scrapping many years ago of the spring bear hunt ... we have ... a lot of nuisance bears that are coming into the communities and … are causing problems … this obviously is a real concern for us."