The Ministry of Natural Resources in Kingston says there is no proof a calf in the former Pittsburgh Township was killed by a bear, in spite of a recent report in a Kingston newspaper.
Conservation officer Mark Deslauriers says the ministry is aware of a calf being killed on a Middle Road farm early in September. He says a city livestock evaluator went out to investigate after a resident reported a calf had been killed during the night. The resident, says Deslauriers, was convinced it was the work of a black bear, saying it was like nothing she had seen before.
Delauriers says while there are "lots of bears around" there has never been a case of a bear eating cattle before. "I can't think of any other instance (of a calf killing) in this part of Ontario." He adds that MNR didn't go out to the farm, located near the Joyceville Road, to investigate the incident.
The ministry has, however, noticed an increasing number of bears in the area, says Deslauriers. He says where they once "tended to stay north of the 401," they seem lately to be "more prevalent" throughout the region.
Deslauriers attributes a rise in the population to a number of factors. "We don't have the spring bear hunt in Ontario anymore," he says, listing one of the reasons. He also says there's a trend at work with a lot of wild animals, including "wild turkeys and fishers" toward becoming more successful breeders. "It's a lot easier for these animals to survive and function these days."
Deslauriers says people shouldn't be alarmed by the fact there are more bears, but they should be smart about it: "It's maybe a learning curve - just the fact that they see a bear doesn't mean panic."
He advises residents to make sure "garbage and compost piles" are kept as clean as possible. Bears, like a lot of wild animals, are "grazers," he says, it's best not to encourage them.