Help Keep Bears Away – Secure Waste And Attractants
With increased bear sightings in the area, the City of Port Coquitlam is advising residents to secure their garbage and other attractants to help keep bears out of neighbourhoods.
In April and May, there have been 148 bear sightings in Port Coquitlam reported to the Provincial Conservation Officer Service.
Residents and businesses can do their part by following the City’s garbage regulations and avoid a $150 fine:
- LOCK IT UP – secure garbage and food scraps in either a wildlife-resistant enclosure (e.g. garage or shed) or by using the City cart lock or a wildlife resistant lock certified by the BC Conservation Foundation.
- SET IT OUT – cart set-out times are between 5:30-7:30 a.m. on collection day and re-secure your carts by 7 pm.
Residents and businesses are also advised to:
- Lock carts, even when empty, except on collection day.
- Freeze meat and strong-smelling food scraps, and wait until collection day to put them into the green cart.
- Feed pets indoors, clean barbecues after use and keep freezers indoors or locked up.
- Don’t store strong-smelling garbage (diapers, grease barrels) or scented products (pop cans, toothpaste tubes, hairspray, mouthwash, etc.) outside.
- Harvest fruit, berries and vegetables before or as they ripen, and clean up fallen fruit.
- Remove bird feeders from April to November, or suspend them higher than 3.3 m.
- Prevent access to small animals (chickens, rabbits) and berry bushes.
- Ensure the City cart lock is used correctly. Visit www.portcoquitlam.ca/lock for instructions on how to use.
Bears are food driven and are feeding on natural and unnatural food sources including bird feeders, suet, chickens, rabbits and garbage. After bears find a meal once in a garbage cart, they quickly learn to check all the homes on a street and teach their cubs to do the same. These “garbage bears” lose their natural fear of humans and often become aggressive over time, forcing the Conservation Office to destroy or remove them. Relocating bears often doesn’t work as 50 per cent of relocated bears find their way back.
Residents who encounter a bear on local walking trails and in parks or on the streets or in backyards are advised to report the sightings to the Provincial Conservation Officer Service 24-hour toll-free hotline at 1-877-952-RAPP or at www.rapp.bc.ca.
If You Encounter a Bear:
- Stay calm, stand still and assess the situation. Remember: bear attacks are uncommon.
- Speak to the bear in a calm, firm voice. Your voice helps identify you as a human.
- Back away slowly and NEVER run – running may trigger a pursuit.
- If a black bear attacks, fight back and use bear spray if you have it. Do all you can to let the bear know you are not easy prey.
Be Cautious on the Trails:
- Travel with someone else or a group.
- Be alert where bears may not be able to see, hear, or smell you.
- Avoid wearing strong perfumes.
- Make noise (talk loudly, clap or sing) to let the bear know you are there.
- Keep children close at all times – don’t let them wander ahead or lag behind.
- Avoid wearing headphones while walking or jogging, especially if alone.
- 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. But don’t carry it unless you know how and when to use it.
For more information about being bear smart or the City’s garbage regulations, visit www.portcoquitlam.ca/bears or call 604.927.5496.
Manager of Bylaw Services
City of Port Coquitlam