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As hibernation season ends, Saskatchewan residents asked to be “bear aware”

As spring begins to hit in Saskatchewan, the Ministry of Environment is reminding people to be bear aware.

The advisory comes as March and April bring black bears out of hibernation, often in search of foods like green shoots, grasses or tree buds.

The bears are especially active in northern Saskatchewan forests and in aspen parkland to the south, along with some isolated ranges, such as the Touchwood Hills, the Qu’Appelle Valley and the South Saskatchewan River Valley.

Residents and visitors are reminded that they share the land with bears. To keep the risk of running into a bear down though, residents are told to keep their yards and spaces free of attractants. The Ministry says bears are smart animals, and if they can’t find food, they’ll leave.  Only when bears associate food with humans is when they become a nuisance.

People are also asked to avoid leaving garbage, pet food or food waste laying about. Instead, they should use an animal-proof container to store it and only put out garbage on collection day. Barbecues should be cleaned after every use as well.

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Things to also watch for is to not leave fish, meat, fat, oils, unrinsed eggshells or any cooked food in unsecured compost bins.

If someone has an aggressive encounter with a bear, they’re asked to contact the Turn in Poachers and Polluters line at 1-800-667-7561. If the bear is just being a nuisance, they can call the MOE general inquiry line at 1-800-567-4224 or send them an email.

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