British Columbia has some of the highest populations of black bears in the world with estimates ranging from 120 to 150 thousand animals. Most of BC is considered “bear country” with bears living in coastal temperate rainforests as well as the dry interior. They are renowned for their acute sense of smell that allows them to locate food at great distances
For this reason, TriCities residents are warned about keeping/minimizing attractions from bears in residential areas every year. Port Moody, Coquitlam, and Port Coquitlam have all released bear awareness information about how to stay safe and how to keep bears out of your neighbourhood.
The number one bear attraction is garbage and green waste being stored incorrectly. Store your garbage in a secure location that is inaccessible to wildlife including bears. Keep your garbage secured until collection day and only move your waste containers to the curb during designated times, usually 5:30am to 7:30am. If you leave your waste containers out, you could be fined $500 in Port Coquitlam and Coquitlam or up to $1000 in Port Moody.
Another way to eliminate the temptation for bears is to make sure you feed your pets indoors. Don’t keep food outside or unattended.
Keep your barbecue grill clean. Be sure to clean the grease trap after each use and make sure there is no food residue leftover on the grill.
One thing you might not think about to keep bears away are bird feeders. If you have bird feeders, you should only use them in the winter months. Make sure you clean up any seeds that spill onto the ground. Hang them high enough to avoid being within the bear’s reach. Of course, if you see bears often in your yard or neighborhood, you should avoid using bird feeders all together.
If a bear finds a food source in your garbage or backyard, it will keep returning and will lose its natural fear of humans. That’s when the conservation officers have to step in and destroy or relocate the bear. However, 50% of bears that are relocated make their way back to the original location and ultimately are destroyed.
The best practice is to keep bears away from your food and keep yourself away from bears. Do not approach or try to take selfies with them. There is a good chance you or your pet could end up as their next meal. If you see a bear, the Provincial Conservation Officer Service advises to call them on their 24-hour toll-free hotline at 1-877-952-RAPP or contact them at www.rapp.bc.ca.
Port Moody Bear Information
Coquitlam Bear Information
Port Coquitlam Bear Information