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Apr 24, 2019 Return to Headlines

Bears are Awake in Coquitlam

by Kevin Henkelman |

COQUITLAM, BC, April 24, 2019 – As bears are waking up, the City of Coquitlam is beginning its annual education and enforcement campaign.

All Coquitlam residents have an ongoing responsibility to ensure we are all doing our part to keep bears safe and prevent human-wildlife conflict.

This means:

  • Keeping garbage and food waste securely stored at all times;
  • Separating your waste and putting food scraps in the Green Cart, which is collected weekly;
  • Making sure attractants including, 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.

These rules and more are explained at www.coquitlam.ca/bearsmart. All properties in Coquitlam are required to ensure that garbage and attractants are inaccessible to wildlife! Property owners found allowing wildlife to access attractants, even unintentionally, will receive a $500 fine.

Wildlife 101 – Free, Fun and Informative

Would you know what to do if you encountered a bear on a trail, or in your backyard? Do you know how to make your home less attractive to bears and wildlife? Learn how to live in our community with bears and other wildlife such as cougars, bobcats, coyotes and raccoons by registering for Coquitlam’s free Wildlife 101 session.

Date: Tuesday, June 11
Time: Doors open: 6 p.m.; Presentation: 7 to 8:30 p.m.
Location: Evergreen Cultural Centre, 1205 Pinetree Way

Come hear from bear expert Luci Cadman from the North Shore Black Bear Society as she discusses:

  • How to properly manage attractants.
  • Safety tips to avoid conflict.
  • Basic bear biology – dispelling misconceptions.
  • What to do if you encounter a bear and other wildlife.

Register for free online at www.coquitlam.ca/wildlife101 – hurry as space is limited!

Bear Activity and Wildlife Attractants in Coquitlam

Last year was a busy year for bear activity in Coquitlam. The City received 254 bear calls and 188 calls reporting unsecured garbage – which is the most common bear attractant.   It is clear that Coquitlam residents are doing a great job managing their garbage – the total unsecured garbage calls in 2018 show a 57% decrease compared to the 2016/2017 average of 437 calls!

Despite this improvement in garbage management, it only takes one resident leaving their garbage unsecured to attract a bear. City staff remain dedicated to ensuring that all residents are doing their part to minimize human-bear conflict on their property.

Ongoing Focus on Education and Enforcement

For 2019, the City will continue its existing enforcement strategy, which includes 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 with its successful public education campaigns with user-friendly materials, social media outreach, school programs, workshops, and displays at community events such as: the Teddy Bear Parade & Picnic (June 9); Wildlife 101 Info Session (June 11); Coquitlam Celebrates Canada Day (July 1); Neighbourhood Nights and other events.

Once a bear becomes habituated to eating garbage, it may be destroyed to protect public safety by the conservation officer service. By ensuring bears don’t find a food reward in our neighbourhoods we can minimize human bear conflict and encourage these animals to forage in the natural areas rather than our backyards. It is up to everyone to do their part to be Bear Smart and City staff are always available to help provide tips and advice on how you can help make your property – and especially your garbage – less attractive to bears.

More information can be found at www.coquitlam.ca/bearsmart.

Media contact:

Steffanie Warriner
Manager Environmental Services