As spring weather rolls in, black bears begin to wake from their winter hibernation.
Rick Stronks, the chief naturalist at Algonquin Provincial Park, shares some interesting facts about these seasonal deep sleepers:
Are you going to bear country this summer? Remember we share our parks with these wonderful creatures. Be prepared and aware!
To be prepared, let’s first understand some basics about bears. Black bears, despite their name, aren’t always black and will range in colour and weigh 250lb to 650lbs. Due to hibernation during winter months, finding food is very important from April to late fall. Although portrayed as meat eaters, bears are omnivores, meaning they eat meat and plants. Berries, nuts and other plants are the majority of their diet. However, bears are opportunistic, meaning if they smell food they will search it out and eat it. Once they find a food source they will keep returning.
Since bears have such a keen sense of smell, it’s your responsibility to keep your campsite clean. If you have a vehicle, pack up all your food into containers and keep it in your trunk. This includes anything with a smell, so pack up those toiletries and clothes you have cooked in. Also, do not dump your dish water on your site. Waste water should be dumped down a vault privy.