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Sep 13, 2019 Return to Headlines

Secure Your Attractants – Bears Are Stocking Up For Winter

by Rebecca Vaughan |

COQUITLAM, BC, September ​13, 2019 – As local area bears look for food to prepare for winter denning, Coquitlam residents in single-family homes and multi-family units and businesses are reminded to secure any attractants that might encourage bears to visit their property for food sources. 

Why Are Bears More Active Now?

In the fall, bears need extra calories to prepare for winter. This period of bulking up is called hyperphagia and bears are biologically driven to find extra food at this time. To help keep wildlife in the wild the City of Coquitlam is reminding everyone of their obligation to secure all attractants, like garbage, food scraps, kitchen waste and produce from trees and gardens.  Often, bears are just passing through our neighbourhoods and, if they find no food source, they will simply move on.

What Can You Do?

You can take the following actions to make your home, property and business wildlife-resistant including:

  • Keep it secure
    • store garbage, food waste and recycling in a secure area inaccessible to wildlife.
    • oonly place Garbage Carts, Green Carts and Blue Bins out at the curb after 5:30 a.m. on collection day not the night before
    • keep garage doors and sheds closed and locked
    • freeze smelly garbage and food waste until collection day
    • keep pet food inside
  • Keep it Clean
    • pick fruit from outdoor trees including those that are ripe or have fallen on the ground
    • suspend or remove bird feeders and clean up any fallen seed
    • clean barbeques
    • regularly wash your garbage cart, green cart, and recycling bins to ensure they are odour-free
  • Be a Good Neighbour
    • help neighbours with their carts if they are away on vacation, are shift workers, or elderly.
    • take Coquitlam’s Bear Smart Household Pledge and receive a Bear Smart decal for display
    • share what you know and encourage others to be bear smart
  • Let Us Know
    • report wildlife attractants such as unsecured garbage, ripe fruit, and accessible bird feeders to the urban wildlife team at 604-927-3500 or urbanwildlife@coquitlam.ca

Putting Bears at Risk Could be Costly

It is everyone’s responsibility – homeowners, residents, business owners - to make sure their property does not attract wildlife. Allowing wildlife to access garbage and other attractants can lead to a $500 fine under the City’s Solid Waste Management Bylaw and Wildlife & Vector Control Bylaw.

Feeding wildlife is also illegal in B.C., defined in the Province's Wildlife Act even if done so unintentionally.

And, ultimately, a bear that is deemed habituated to attractants and to humans may pay the ultimate price and be destroyed by the Conservation Officer Service.

About Bear Activity in Coquitlam

Coquitlam generates a high volume of bear sightings to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service every year. Most residents in Coquitlam are bear smart and are making sure that wildlife does not find a food reward on their property.

Through education and enforcement the collective efforts from both residents and the City have resulted in a 60% decrease in wildlife attractant byaw violations. That said it only takes one incident of a food reward to keep bears and other wildlife frequenting a neighbourhood – everyone needs to do their part to ensure garbage and other attractants do not attract wildlife.  

What to Do if You Encounter a Bear

Coquitlam residents are reminded that bears are wild animals and can be dangerous and unpredictable.  Take steps to avoid close encounters with wildlife. Ensure there are no attractants on your property. Hike with a partner and make lots of noise to avoid surprise encoutners. If you see a bear, stop and remain calm. Do not scream, yell or run. Talk in a low and calm voice while backing away slowly, keeping at least 100 metres from the bear and warn others to do the same. To report wildlife that is aggressive or causing property damage, call the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-RAPP (7277).

More information:

Media contact:
Julie Kanya
Urban Wildlife Coordinator
Engineering & Public Works
jkanya@coquitlam.ca 
604-927-3554