Bears are stretching their legs, scratching their backs, and looking for an easy meal as they emerge from hibernation. And that means the potential for people to cause them problems is high.
As reported by 980 CKNW and Global News in BC’s Tri-cities, bear sightings have started – and Coquitlam’s Urban Wildlife Coordinator expects that to rise as prime bear season begins in April.
The report cited a past release from the city that in 2016 Coquitlam received nearly 1,400 calls concerning wildlife, 270 of which were bear related, and 472 were directly related to unsecured garbage.
The Fur-Bearers has proudly supported Coquitlam as they work to end the human behaviour that leads to conflict, and tragically, often leads to bears being killed. Our staff and volunteers have distributed hundreds of informative door-hangers to houses in high-conflict areas, and discussed policy and their efforts at length. The City has a by-law that requires residents to put garbage curbside no earlier than 5:30 am the day of pickup – and failure to abide can result in a $500 fine.
Keeping garbage containers secure, cleaning them regularly, and checking around your house for other attractants (pet food, overfilled/spilling bird seed, dirty barbecue grills or grease traps, etc.) are important first steps to preventing conflict. Talking about how to be a responsible resident with friends, family, and neighbours is also valuable, as is reporting inappropriate behaviour to your municipal by-law office or provincial wildlife officials.
Bears want the same thing we do: a safe, fulfilling life. We can help them by being responsible neighbours and remembering that our actions and behaviours have the greatest impact on preventing conflict.
The Fur-Bearers will be providing more tips and information on co-existence as spring moves forward.