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As Saskatchewan’s bears prepare for hibernation, residents reminded to be aware

With summer soon transitioning into autumn, Saskatchewan residents might see more bears fattening up for the winter months.

During preparation for hibernation, bears can eat up to 20 hours a day. Ministry of Environment Wildlife Biologist Matthew Tokaruk adds that it isn’t unusual for bears to need to eat 20,000 calories per day in order to bulk their body weight by 35 per cent over the late summer and into fall.

During this time, bears might go roaming for food and sometimes might not hear someone while they’re eating. If someone encounters a bear, they should keep their distance and walk away slowly. Do not run, and if needed, someone should put natural barriers like rocks or trees between themselves and the bear.

In the unlikely event a bear attacks beyond threatening, fight back and do not play dead.

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Oftentimes, the bear will leave the area without intervention, and if they don’t find food they will leave the area.

It is added that people should lock up food, garbage, or pet and livestock feed away from bears. Also, people should never feed a bear or their cubs, because once a bear associates a person with food, they won’t leave after they lose their natural fear of humans.

People should also make sure their barbecues are cleaned and packed up after every grill as a deterrent. The Ministry of Environment adds a reminder of new laws introduced this spring making it illegal to feed bears, wolves, cougars and coyotes. Failure to manage food and garbage may also result in fines.

This does not apply to the use of bait for licensed hunting or trapping purposes, conducting agricultural activities or operating licensed landfills.

People can report a dangerous bear on the Turn in Poachers and Polluters (TIPP) line at 1-800-667-7561 or #5555 from a SaskTel cell phone. For public inquiries or general concerns about nuisance bears, contact the Ministry of Environment’s general inquiry line at 1-800-567-4224 or by email at [email protected].

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