Bear spotted by cyclist; Springwater Township offers advice

Know what to do

Have an eye.

Springwater Township is handing out bear safety information after an adult black bear was spotted by a cyclist near Gill Road and Gallagher Crescent.

Knowing what to do if you come across a bear and keeping your property free of bear attractants is being Bear Wise.

If you see a bear, remember to stop and remain calm. Slowly back away while keeping the bear in sight. If the bear does not leave, throw objects, wave your arms and make noise. If you are near a building or vehicle, get inside as a precaution.

Bears usually avoid humans but are attracted by garbage, bird feeders, barbecues and pet food. Keeping those items clean and in check will help keep them away.

So will making noise such as whistling or talking in areas where bears might be – along trails and near streams, for instance.

Avoid bear-human encounters:

  • Alert bears to your presence so they can avoid you. Make noise such as singing, whistling or talking while in areas with restricted visibility or with high background noise (e.g. near streams and waterfalls).
  • Watch for signs of bear activity (e.g. tracks, claw marks on trees, flipped-over rocks or fresh bear droppings) and pay attention, especially if you are working, gardening or berry picking.
  • Store garbage in waste containers with tight-fitting lids and only put it out on the morning of pickup.
  • Fill bird feeders only during the winter when bears are hibernating.
  • Clean food residue and grease from outdoor barbecue grills after each use.
  • Keep pet food indoors.

Township officials note not every bear sighting is an emergency situation, but it is important to know who to call during a bear encounter.

For non-emergencies, the province operates a toll-free Bear Wise reporting hotline at 1-866-514-2327 (TTY 705-945-7641). This line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If a bear is posing an immediate threat by exhibiting threatening or aggressive behavior, such as stalking people and lingering at the site or wandering into a public gathering or residence, call 911.

banner image via Flickr