COQUITLAM, BC, April 17, 2020 – With bears out of hibernation and searching for food, Coquitlam is reminding residents to do their part to keep bears away.
Simple actions residents can take to keep bears safe and prevent human-wildlife conflicts include:
- Keeping garbage and food waste securely stored at all times;
- Separating waste and putting food scraps in the Green Cart, which is collected weekly;
- Making sure attractants such as pet food, bird feeders and ripe fruit are not accessible to wildlife;
- Freezing smelly food scraps until collection day;
- Cleaning carts after collection to minimize odours; and
- Only putting out Garbage and Green Carts after 5:30 a.m. on collection day – not the night before.
Property owners that allow wildlife to access attractants – even unintentionally – will receive a $500 fine. These rules and more are explained at www.coquitlam.ca/bearsmart.
Unsecured Attractants Put Bears at Risk
Unsecured garbage continues to be the most common bear attractant in Coquitlam. It’s a problem because bears that become habituated to eating garbage can become aggressive and may be destroyed by the Conservation Officer Service.
Bears have a strong sense of smell – it only takes one home’s garbage to attract a bear. Making sure they don’t find an easy meal in your neighbourhood will help encourage them to forage in natural areas rather than backyards.
Ongoing Focus on Education and Enforcement
Last year, the City received 318 calls reporting unsecured garbage, in addition to 247 other bear calls. As well, 1,182 warnings and tickets were issued in 2019.
While this number is high, it represents almost a 60 per cent decrease from violations in 2018, showing that more and more residents are doing a better job of managing their garbage.
For its 2020 education and enforcement campaign, the City will continue its strategy of patrolling neighbourhoods, responding to complaints and achieving compliance by applying a variety of tools, such as warning stickers, notices of violation, non-compliance letters and $500 tickets.
The City will also continue its successful public education campaigns with user-friendly materials and social media outreach.
It is up to everyone to do their part to be bear smart. City staff are available to help provide tips and advice on how to make your property – and especially your garbage – less attractive to bears.
More information can be found at www.coquitlam.ca/bearsmart.
To report wildlife attractants, improper storage of attractants or wildlife accessing attractants, call the City at 604-927-3500 or email email Urban Wildlife. To report wildlife that is aggressive or causing property damage, call the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.