(The following was a notice sent to Eagle Lake First Nation staff by MNR)
Bear Wise Message for Police, First Nations and Municipalities
General Message for All
MNR provincially announced on May 3rd that MNR districts would play a diminished role in the Bear Wise program.
This means MNR District staff will no longer:
• trap and relocate problem or nuisance bears;
• perform site visits to identify attractants that may be drawing bears to the property; or
• provide advice to people who are having conflicts with bears.
MNR provincially however, will:
• maintain the Bear Reporting Line (1-866-514-2327) to provide advice to people about bears that may visit their property; and
• maintain the website to assist the public with tips to ensure that their property is not inviting to bears (http://www.mnr.gov.on.ca/en/Business/Bearwise/index.html).
Our District message to those that call the office:
• if a bear poses a safety concern – you should call the local police or 911 immediately.
• the Fish & Wildlife Conservation Act (Section 31) allows landowners to protect themselves and their property if they believe that wildlife (a bear) is damaging or is about to damage their property. The Act authorizes the landowner to harass or even kill the bear in defence of the property. The landowner is responsible to ensure that the discharge of a firearm is legal for their location. If a landowner kills a bear it must be reported to MNR.
Additional Message for Police Services
We are aware that MNR’s Assistant Deputy Minister wrote the Director of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police on May 3 about these changes. At the same time, we were advised that “MNR will continue to support local police services and the OPP in responding to emergency situations”. We are still attempting to clarify what ‘support’ means. In Dryden District, we have no staff who are trained and capable to dispatch a bear or chemically immobilize a bear.
Additional Message for Municpalities
We are aware that MNR’s Deputy Minister wrote the every municipal CAO or Clerk on May 3 about these changes. At the same time, we were advised on May 3 that “the ministry will continue to provide advice and support to municipalities on how to manage bears …”. We are still attempting to clarify what ‘support’ means, particularly in reference to equipment and service-providers.
Additional Message for First Nations
We were advised on May 3 that the ministry will continue to provide advice and support to First Nations and municipalities and on how to manage bears. We are still attempting to clarify what ‘support’ means, particularly in reference to equipment and service-providers.