If you see a bear, don't rush to call 911: OPP

A black bear stands near the side of an Alberta Highway in May 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Police are reminding the public what to do if they see a bear after four sightings in the Petawawa-area over the past week. 

Upper Ottawa Valley OPP said officers have responded to four reports of black bears but are telling residents bears who don't come into populated areas aren't always a threat to public safety. 

Residents are asked to call 911 only if a bear poses an immediate threat by acting aggressively or in a threatening way, situations where the bear has entered an enclosed space or is stalking people or animals.

OPP will respond to such calls but ask that in non-emergency situations, residents call the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry's toll-free Bear Wise reporting line at 1-866-514-2327. 

Non-emergency situations include a bear: 

  • Roaming around, checking garbage cans
  • Breaking into a shed where garbage or food is stored  
  • In a tree  
  • Pulling down a bird feeder or knocking over a barbecue     
  • Moving through a backyard or field but is not lingering 

 The hotline operates 24/7 from April 1 until Nov. 30, with trained staff available to assist with the situation and to provide information on keeping bears away from property.