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So there's a bear in your tree... Now what?

Earlier this week, SooToday staff were on-scene of a bear-removal in the city's east end which lasted many hours.

Earlier this week, SooToday staff were on-scene of a bear-removal in the city's east end which lasted many hours.

We asked Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) staff how the public can best assist in the removal of bears from trees in populated areas.

The MNR response can be seen below:

Bears that come into a populated area aren’t necessarily a threat to public safety. Bears are normally shy of humans. 

When bears are scared, often their first reaction is to climb a tree.

Giving the bear plenty of space allows it a chance to retreat. It is not unusual for a treed bear to remain treed until all people/ dogs have vacated the area, and until after the light fades.

  • MNRF will attempt to respond to police calls for assistance involving bears when possible
  • Police will generally attempt to scare bears into leaving an area when possible
  • In densely populated residential areas, close to schools, in high traffic areas where bears may pose a safety threat, Police may call upon MNRF for assistance
  • Free ranging bears that are on the move are difficult to capture.  Attempting immobilization poses too great a risk in this situation.
  • Generally, a bear must be contained – usually means it has been treed and police are on scene, and will remain pending MNRF arrival
  • MNRF staff and police will formulate a plan at the scene, taking in to account a number of factors
  • Police provide assistance to MNRF staff on scene by providing lethal backup and crowd control
  • Safety is paramount, and no action will be initiated until risks are minimized
  • Patience is key – situations may dictate staying on scene until night fall and allowing the bear to leave on its own under cover of darkness

Staff on scene must consider:

  • Public Safety
  • Responder safety – both MNRF staff and Police
  • Animal welfare and safety – can the bear be immobilized\removed without causing injury\undo stress
  • Probability of property damage

Public can assist responders by:

  • Heeding any directions given by responders.  Individuals who refuse to follow instructions  may be referred to police on scene
  • Not approaching for a better view or to take photos
  • Keeping noise levels – including conversations  – to a minimum in order to reduce the bears’ anxiety and stress. 
  • Not approaching responders to engage in conversation\ask questions.  Staff will be more than willing to answer questions once the bears has been safely immobilized and placed in a live trap for transport.
  • Keeping dogs indoors or away from the scene. Dogs, especially when barking, can cause bears elevated stress and anxiety.


(PHOTO: A bear seen in a tree behind a property on Kerr Drive in the city's east end last Monday. Kenneth Armstrong/SooToday)