REGINA — The Ministry of Environment is reminding residents to be bear aware.
Warmer weather means bears are leaving their dens to search for food and there's a greater chance of encountering one.
Black bears are found throughout the province. Their range includes all northern Saskatchewan forests and extends southward into the aspen parkland. Bears can be found in many other areas where suitable habitat exists including the Touchwood Hills, the Qu'Appelle Valley and the South Saskatchewan River Valley.
When bears associate humans with their food source, they become a nuisance and a threat to public safety, according to a ministry press release. New regulations prohibit the feeding of bears, wolves, cougars and coyotes, even on the side of the road. This regulation is designed to address concerns related to dangerous wildlife gaining access to human-sourced foods.
If you live, work or spend time in bear country, take precautions with attractants, including household waste.
Here is what the ministry advises to prevent a safety risk for yourself, your community and bears:
- Store garbage in a secure building or buy a bear-resistant container. Only put the bin out on the morning of collection.
- Wash all recycling items and regularly clean garbage or recycling bins.
- Avoid leaving pet food accessible to wildlife.
- Only use bird feeders in the winter when bears are hibernating.
- Do not add fish, meat, fat, oils, unrinsed eggshells or any cooked food to backyard compost bins.
- Thoroughly clean and store barbecue grills after each use.
If you have an aggressive encounter with a bear, and/or if public safety is at risk, call the Turn in Poachers and Polluters (TIPP) line at 1-800-667-7561 or from your SaskTel cell phone at #5555.
To report concerns about nuisance bear(s), contact the ministry's general inquiry line at 1-800-567-4224 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additional information about bears and bear safety is available at saskatchewan.ca/wildlife-issues.