It seems we must become smarter than the average bear if we are to curb the incidents of brazen bruins in Fort Frances, Mayor Glenn Witherspoon told the annual meeting of the Rainy River District Municipal Association on Saturday in Stratton.
Last year, there were 80 reported bear sightings in town. Some 20 animals were trapped by the Ministry of Natural Resources, with six having to be destroyed because they were repeat offenders.
“It’s a sort of three-strikes-and-you’re-out rule,” explained Mayor Witherspoon, who noted the problem is adult bears have been shown to travel up to 200 km to return to a community from which they have been removed.
The trick, he said, is to prevent them from coming in the first place.
“We’ve studied what they do in places like Jasper and Banff to bear-proof their communities,” Mayor Witherspoon added. “It may come down to things like using garbage containers that they can’t get into and eliminating curbside pick-up.
“We may even have to rethink things like bird feeders.
“It’s early yet. We’re still in Bear Protocol 101,” he quipped. “We’re a long way from making a recommendation.”
Nuisance bears have become a growing concern since the provincial government banned the spring bear hunt several years ago.
Gravenhurst council recently passed a resolution calling on the province to reinstate the spring bear hunt.