COQUITLAM, B.C., April 7, 2021 – As bears are active again and have already been spotted in local neighbourhoods, Coquitlam is reminding residents to do their part to keep bears away from unnatural food sources.
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;
- Freezing smelly food scraps until collection day;
- 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;
- 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 used to eating garbage often become unpredictable, defensive or 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
Since 2017 the number of annual violations associated with the City’s Solid Waste and Wildlife/Vector Control Bylaws, including both warnings and tickets, has decreased by more than 50 per cent. This is a good indication that most residents are doing their part and compliance is increasing.
While there has been a significant decrease in violations, the City continues with a robust education and enforcement campaign so that residents who have recently moved to Coquitlam or who do not understand about living in a Bear Smart community receive this important information.
Additionally, and unfortunately, there are also residents who simply do not comply, and as a certified Bear Smart community, Coquitlam is committed to our responsibility.
For its 2021 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 violation stickers, notices of violation, non-compliance letters and $500 tickets. The City will also continue its successful public education campaigns with outdoor and virtual presentations with members of the Urban Wildlife team 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. To report wildlife that is aggressive or causing property damage, call the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.
City of Coquitlam