Online bear reporting tool launches in Sudbury
Sudbury residents encouraged to document date, time, location and description of bear encounters
A new online mapping tool has been launched to keep track of bear sightings in Greater Sudbury.
"It can be scary when you come across a wild animal in your backyard," city councillor Al Sizer said.
"But if we can provide people with the education, what to expect and how to deal with the encounter than it's certainly better for our residents."
Over 1,700 bear sightings reported in 2015
The new reporting tool comes after police received 1,764 calls about bear sightings, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry received 2,400 reports from Sudbury to its Bear Wise reporting line last year.
The Report-a-Bear map was launched in response to the high number of bear encounters by the City of Greater Sudbury, Greater Sudbury Police Service, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.
It is supposed to be for information only and will be refreshed daily.
Data will be used to identify bear trends
"We have bear technicians who can go out and determine if there is an issue in a particular neighbourhood," partnership specialist for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Derrick Luetchford, said.
"If we do see a problem perhaps we can go out and talk to people and look what's attracting a bear to that neighbourhood."
People shouldn't 'be afraid' of seeing a bear
Police have received 69 calls about bears so far this year, according to Greater Sudbury Inspector Mike Chapman.
"The nature of these bears is that they're not out there attacking people. They're out there looking for food and that's where they [people] need to address their attractant issues regarding bird feeders, garbage particularly and other items that might attract the bears."
What to do when you see a bear
If a bear poses danger, the city asks people to call 9-1-1.
Examples of threatening bear behaviour include: stalking or lingering at a site, killing animals, entering a school yard or home and wandering into a place of public gathering.
For non-emergency encounters, people are asked to call the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry's Bear Wise reporting line at 1-866-514-2327.
Examples of non-threatening bear behaviour include: checking garbage cans, breaking into sheds, climbing trees, knocking down barbecues or bird feeders and moving through an area without lingering.