One bear wandering in Tri-cities, and simple steps can keep him and others safe

At least one bear isn’t snoozing away his winter in the Tri-cities, and sightings of him have gotten the community – and the local media – a little excited.

The Tri-City News reported that the Conservation Officer Service (COS) is requesting residents in the area lock away garbage, clean up bird feed, and manage other attractants that could be inviting the bear, who can be identified by a yellow ear tag, into a human-populated area in the search for food in the three communities east of Burnaby.

The COS was reporting the activity of one bear specifically who could be hungry and injured, causing him to not hibernate for the winter months. They stated they wanted to catch the bear, likely for a full assessment.But the Tri-City News repeatedly used the plural form – implying multiple bears are wandering the region.

“Since December, there have been more than 60 complaints about bears not hibernating and wandering around Tri-City neighbourhoods looking for food, most of them in Port Coquitlam and Coquitlam — and that's an unusually high number for this time of year,” the Tri-City News published. While there have been more than 60 complaints – that doesn’t mean there are any more bears than the one discussed by the COS. In fact, it’s much more likely that there’s only a few bears in the area who aren’t hibernating at most.

That said, one bear not hibernating due to injury or hunger could result in conflict with people – and, sadly, that often means death for the animal in question. Please do take the time to clean up around your home, specifically looking for unsecured garbage, spilled bird feed (especially if it’s attracting other animals), pet food, and so on. For a thorough list on bear attractants, as well as steps on how to best remove them, visit our friends at the Get Bear Smart Society.

The wildlife we share the land with want the same things we do: a safe place to eat, sleep, and raise our families. The Fur-Bearers believe we can co-exist – and we hope you do, too.

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