The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has a new way of tracking black bears in Northern Ontario. The new system uses DNA from black bear fur samples

Bait stations are set up in the bush, to help the ministry collect more data about the animals.

If you're taking a walk through the forest and you come across one of the stations; what should you do?

The most important thing is not to touch it.

"What people are likely to see are cans of sardines hanging from planks, " said Karen Passmore, Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry spokesperson.

"The sardine cans are going to be open just a little bit, just enough to let the bear investigate the smell and that's when we will be able to capture the hair sample."

The survey stations will be marked with signs and the public is asked to obey them.

"The traps are going to be set approximately 30 metres away from a roadway," said Passmore.

"That's why we're asking people just to be vigilant. If they do see the signs, they are clearly marked, just to be alert of any activity in the area. They may even see MNR staff in the area. "

MNRF officials said when a bear visits a station; it will brush up against some barbed wire which will capture a small sample of the bear's fur. 

Employees will visit the stations once a week over the next five weeks to collect any hair samples left behind by the bears.

The data will help the government determine how many bears are in the area and how many of them are unique or returning bears.

The province adds the bears are part of Ontario’s bio-diversity and maintaining a healthy population is important.