TIMMINS -- As northeastern Ontario comes out of a heatwave, some may have forgotten spring arrived late for this part of the province and officials with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) say that is the reason for more black bear sightings.  

"That delayed a lot of the natural foods so grasses and leaves and dandelions that bears would typically eat when they come out of hibernation, so those were unavailable when bears came out of hibernation," explained MNRF spokesperson Karen Passmore.

Since April 1st, the province's Bear Wise reporting phone line has received 1,232 calls, compared to 712 calls last year during the same time period.  

The MNRF suggested the vast majority of the calls resulted from unsecured garbage or bird feeders.  

Receiving visits from bears on Timmins properties is nothing new, but for Violet Humeniuk in Kirkland Lake, she said it is.  

"I've lived here all my life and I've never seen bears and I've never seen bears in town like this before."

Since April 1, 121 calls to the Bear Wise line have come from Kirkland Lake, compared to 11 for the same time last year, reported the MNRF.

Humeniuk has recently taken to social media to keep people alerted.  

"Well I just started this (Facebook) page--well the group--about two weeks ago and I probably got about nine hundred members so far and people are posting videos and pictures constantly," said Humerniuk.

"So it's a really good way for people to know what's happening with the bear situation and then get educated about how they can help solve the problem," said Passmore in agreement. 

Passmore says depending on how well natural food sources develop this summer--such as blueberries--it's a wait and see situation to find out if bear visits will decline.