Halifax community sees increase in bear sightings

Halifax community sees increase in bear sightings
Halifax community sees increase in bear sightings

The quiet community around Porters Lake, NS, is known for its wildlife. Lately, however, residents have been noticing more and more wildlife in their yards, particularly black bears.

“Usually bears are coming out of hibernation and looking for food sources. It’s not uncommon for people to see a bear in Porters Lake. We’ve had specific areas where we’ve seen more bears than others,” said David Hendsbee, Halifax Regional Municipality councillor for District 2.

However, recently, surprising bears have been appearing more and more often, now also in areas where bears have never been seen before.

“We’re hearing reports from West Porter, Mineville and even Cole Harbour where bears have been captured on doorbell cameras walking past their yards,” Hendsbee said.

He said it is becoming a concern.

“This year the bears seem to be covering broader areas,” Hendsbee said. “The concern is that they got here first and now we’re encroaching on them, so they’re looking for other food sources.”

Last year, Lake Echo residents got locks for their green bins, due to the increase in bear sightings. Hendsbee said it’s possible other communities will get them as well.

“It depends on how pushy they become (and) whether it becomes a bigger problem.”

Andrew Boyne, director of the wildlife division for the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources and Renewables (DNRR), said bears seek out easy food sources.

“They’re looking for food and if they can find food sources in the east, they’ll go for it. If there’s a lot of natural food, they’ll go for it,” he said.

Boyne said bears avoid people and flee at the slightest noise, so it’s hard to pinpoint the exact population in the area, but he expects it to grow.

“We think the population is robust based on the increased number of reports we’re getting from the public, but we also have a bear hunt in the fall and we have data from the hunting community,” Boyne said.

To learn more about the province’s bear population, DNRR has two projects underway that provide insight into the numbers and patterns of bears in Nova Scotia.

In the meantime, DNRR encourages people to keep their trash cans clean, avoid interacting with bears, and contact the department if bears are seen.

Visit our special provincial page for more Nova Scotia news.