High number of black bear encounters in Manitoba this season, say officials

Manitobans are being reminded by the province they need to be ‘Wildlife Smart’ thanks to a high number of black bear incidents reported this season.

Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development says there has been an unusual number of black bear interaction calls around the province.

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“Black bears are now very focused on finding food and will explore anything that smells like food to prepare for the winter. With natural food shortages in some areas, bears may be more likely to enter communities in search of food,” said the province in a statement.

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Once a bear associates a particular area with food, it can return multiple times and this can pose a danger for them – and for humans, they added.

If the bear continues to be a nuisance, the province may have to use lethal force to remove it.

The best way to help the bears and reduce risks is by securing items that could attract bears – including garbage, compost, human food and pet food, said the province.

Read more: More Manitobans reporting run-ins with bears this season

Tips to keep safe around bears include, carrying bear spray (and know how to use it), be aware of your surroundings at all times, walk in groups and make lots of noise.

These methods also apply to other wildlife species that can be a problem, such as coyotes, foxes, raccoons and skunks.

Additional ‘Wildlife Smart’ tips from the province:

  • never approach or feed a bear or any other wild animal;
  • leash dogs when walking outside to reduce the risk of it harassing a bear, being attacked by one or leading a bear back to the dog’s owner;
  • remove ripened or fallen fruit daily and do not allow it to rot on the ground; and
  • remove bird feeders from April to November.
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