COQUITLAM, B.C., Sept. 24, 2020 – Coquitlam is advising residents and businesses to make sure their property isn’t a source of food for bears this fall as they fatten up for winter.
As the weather cools and days grow shorter, bears begin to actively seek out easy and plentiful food sources to help them prepare for hibernation. This period in a bear’s annual cycle is called hyperphagia.
Guided by massive appetites and a keen sense of smell, bears find unsecured garbage carts, dumpsters and other food sources near homes and businesses to be an irresistible draw.
Help Keep Bears Away
While bears are often just passing through an area and typically move on if they do not find food, they will return to the source of an easy meal again and again.
Coquitlam residents and businesses can keep bears away from their property by making sure all kinds of attractants – including garbage, food scraps, pet food, fallen fruit, bird feeders and dirty barbecues – are out of reach of wildlife.
Secure your waste carts and bins:
- Store garbage, food waste and recycling in a secure area that is inaccessible to wildlife, such as a locked garage or shed;
- Only place carts and bins at the curb after 5:30 a.m. on collection day – not the night before; and
- Keep carts and bins odour-free by regularly cleaning them and freezing smelly garbage and food waste until collection day.
Remove other attractants:
- Pick ripe fruit and berries and remove fallen fruit from the ground;
- Hang bird feeders high or remove them, and clean up fallen seed;
- Keep pet food inside;
- Store refrigerators and freezers indoors; and
- Clean barbecues.
Be a good neighbour:
- Help neighbours with their carts if they are away, work shifts or are elderly;
- Take Coquitlam’s Bear Smart Household Pledge at www.coquitlam.ca/bearsmart and receive a Bear Smart decal for display; and
- Share what you know and encourage others to be bear smart.
Report bear activity:
- Report improper storage of attractants such as garbage, or wildlife accessing attractants to the City’s Urban Wildlife team at 604-927-3500 or by email.
- Report wildlife that is aggressive or causing property damage to the Conservation Officer Service 24/7 reporting line at 1-877-952-7277.
For more information on bear safety and securing attractants, visit www.coquitlam.ca/bearsmart.
Tourism Coquitlam also provides helpful tips for what to do if you encounter a bear on a Coquitlam trail in the See & Do section at www.visitcoquitlam.ca.
The Cost of Feeding Bears
Property owners that allow wildlife to access attractants, even unintentionally, are subject to a $500 fine through the City’s Solid Waste Management Bylaw and Wildlife & Vector Control Bylaw.
Providing wildlife with food, intentionally or not, is also illegal throughout B.C. under the provincial Wildlife Act.
As well, bears that grow accustomed to humans or to eating attractants may be deemed a public safety risk and destroyed by the Conservation Officer Service.
Environmental Projects Manager
City of Coquitlam