Reporting Human Wildlife Conflicts
Dial Toll Free 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP) to report wildlife-human interactions where public safety is at risk.
What can you do to prevent problems with dangerous wildlife in urban settings?
Each year, too many bears and other wildlife are killed because of human decisions and behaviour. When we leave garbage out, it has the power to attract a bear from tens of kilometres away. When we allow bears to transit through urban areas without making attempts to scare them, they lose their natural fear of humans. Simply put, our behaviours directly and indirectly lead to the deaths of wildlife.
However, there are a variety of simple things that each of us can do that make a big difference to preventing human wildlife conflicts. When endorsed and supported by an entire community, these activities have the power to prevent dangerous wildlife from entering our communities, and becoming a public safety concern.
The Ministry of Environment has the following resources to help provide tips and strategies on how to reduce conflicts:
10 Tips for Dealing with Bears
Safety Guide to Bears at your Home
Safety Guide to Bears in the Wild
In addition to taking action around our homes and yards to prevent conflicts with wildlife, the Ministry of Environment also strongly recommends that anyone who is interested get involved with the Bear Smart and Bear Aware programs.
What to do if you observe dangerous wildlife?
If you observe dangerous wildlife in an urban area involved in any of the following, please report the incident to our 24 hour, toll free call centre at: 1-877-952-7277
- Accessing garbage or other human supplied food sources
- Instances where wildlife cannot be easily scarred off
- Dangerous wildlife is in a public location like a city park or school during daylight hours
- When a cougar or wolf is seen in a urban area
Observing dangerous wildlife in the woods, back country, forested areas or a wildlife interface is normal. We recommend that anyone spending time in these areas should ensure that they are familiar with how to react should they encounter dangerous wildlife. Information on how to react when encountering specific wildlife species can be found on our species pages.
Dealing with Nuisance Wildlife
As a public safety provider, the COS is focussed on responding to human wildlife conflicts and environmental violations that pose a threat to public safety. As a result, the COS does not attend incidents such as complaints about nuisance wildlife or instances where conflict situations can be prevented through improved management techniques or making adjustments to our daily behaviours. Examples of these nuisance encounters with wildlife include conflicts with racoons, squirrels, skunks, crows, geese, and deer and other ungulates. In the vast majority of these situations, simple actions will help eliminate the problem such as:
- Erecting barriers such as fences or nets to keep deer out of gardens
- Planting vegetation that does not attract wildlife
- Removing food attractants such as garbage, bird seed, securing composts, removing fruit as it ripens and picking up windfalls, and not leaving pet food outside
- Securing buildings to prevent access to roofs, attics and crawlspaces
- Ensuring that vulnerable livestock is secured, such as chicken coups
- Installing scare devices
While some of the above recommendations are easily implemented through simple behavioural changes, others, such as erecting fences, changing vegetation, installing scare devices or securing a home can be more time and money intensive. In these instances it is critical to keep in mind that these costs will help prevent future conflicts and can often prevent larger and more costly problems in the long run.
When do Conservation Officers respond?
Conservation Officers respond to conflicts with dangerous wildlife where there is a risk to public safety. Examples of these situations include responding to attacks, bears breaking into buildings, repeated dangerous wildlife encounters at or near public locations, and situations where dangerous wildlife has become habituated (no longer afraid of humans) or food conditioned (dependent upon human provided foods) and now presents a risk to public safety.
Conservation Officers do not respond to routine sightings, normal wildlife behaviour, such as wildlife transiting through greenbelts or forested areas, nuisance conflicts or conflicts that do not pose a risk to public safety, or to situations where the complainant can take simple measures to address the problem, such as securing garbage, removing bird seed, or properly managing compost.
For reports in portable document format (PDF):
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