Don't Be a Bear Target! Secure Your Waste to Protect your Home and Neighbourhood
Bears attracted to neighborhoods by garbage become problems for you, your neighbours (including kids!), and, eventually, for conservation officers and police.
Protect your family and neighbours and prevent bears from being needlessly destroyed by keeping garbage and other attractants away from bears.
In addition to garbage and kitchen scraps, bears and wildlife are attracted to: food products, beverage containers, barbecue grills, compost (in piles, not composters), pet food, bird feed, diapers, grease barrels, petroleum products, chemical products.
Follow the Bear Regulations in the City's Solid Waste Bylaw
LOCK IT UP - secure your garbage and your kitchen waste in either a wildlife-resistant enclosure such as a garage or shed OR by using a wildlife-resistant lock certified by the BC Conservation Foundation (such as Critter Guard or the City's cart locks).
- SET IT OUT - set out your unlocked carts at the curb between 5:30 am and 7:30 am on collection day and re-secure your carts by 7 pm.
Reporting Bear SightingsIf you see a bear that is going about its regular bear business such as walking through your yard, trails, or open park spaces, don’t panic, leave it alone and do not cut off its escape path. It is normal for bears to roam through urban areas, especially as development encroaches on wild space.
Please report these random sightings, bears in garbage sightings, and encounters with aggressive bears to the Provincial Conservation Officer Service 24hr hotline at 1.877.952.RAPP (7277) or online at www.rapp.bc.ca.
Avoiding Bear Encounters
Human-bear encounters can happen on the walking trails that criss-cross and encircle Port Coquitlam. Trail users are advised to watch for and be cautious around bears and other wildlife. Bear attacks are rare in urban areas in Canada.
- Travel as a part of a group
- Be alert where bears may not be able to see, hear, or smell you: on twisting trails, in dense brush, near running water, or when the wind is in your face
- Avoid wearing strong perfumes
- Make noise (clap or sing); let the bear know you are on the trail. One of the best things to make noise with is to take an empty water bottle, put rocks in it and shake it often.
- Keep children close to you at all times, don't let them wander ahead or lag behind
- Avoid wearing headphones while walking or jogging
- Watch for fresh bear signs (droppings, tracks, scratches on trees, overturned boulders, or smashed logs)
- Keep your dog on a leash at all times
- Never approach a bear, maintain a distance of at least 100 metres
* Bear spray can be an effective deterrent when used properly. Unless you know how and when to use it effectively, do not carry it. Be aware that wind, spray distance, rain, freezing temperatures, and product expiry can all influence bear spray effectiveness. If you plan to carry it, learn how to use it.
All Residents Need to Do Their Part Too
Bears that associate food with human activities often lose their natural fear of humans. As they become bolder and more aggressive in their search for food, bears can get into all kinds of mischief, putting themselves and people around them at risk.
One meal from a backyard or garbage can is enough to bring a hopeful bear back again and again. And bears are smart! If they can get a meal from your garbage can they quickly learn to check every bin in the neighbourhood.
Never feed a bear. A fed bear learns to approach all humans and will likely need to be destroyed. Feeding bears is illegal under BC's Wildlife Act.
Our carelessness is creating "problem bears"
Bears have a keen sense of smell, and garbage or other food sources could easily attract a bear to your neighbourhood. Once bears become used to eating garbage and other unnatural foods, they tend to stay close to places where they can find easy sources of food. Each year, about 950 black bears and 50 grizzlies have to be destroyed to protect the public.
As more people — and more garbage — move into traditional bear habitat, more bears are becoming garbage-conditioned, and have to be destroyed. It’s a terrible waste of life. It’s also costly: the Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks’ Conservation Officer Service spends about $1 million a year dealing with bear/people conflicts.
Destroying or Moving Bears is Not the Answer
Bears which are causing problems are sometimes moved, or “translocated”, especially females with cubs, grizzlies, or bears that are not yet garbage-conditioned. About 150 bears are translocated each year, but it doesn’t always work. Bears will travel hundreds of kilometres to return to known food sources. Other bears are chased from their new surroundings by resident bears, are killed by dominant bears, or starve to death.
- All bear sightings - Provincial Conservation Officer Service - 1.877.952.7277 (RAPP)
- City Waste Collection Services - 604.927.5488 or 604.927.5496
- Solid Waste Infractions / Fines - Bylaw Enforcement - 604.927.5440