The Bears are Awake: Bear Essentials for Staying Safe


Bear Aware 2013

As most local residents are aware, many bears call the Tri-Cities area home. Whether you live in Anmore, Belcarra, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam or Port Moody, you need to be aware of the possibility that you will encounter a bear. Read to the end of an article to find out about Bear Essentials, a free event this week in Port Moody, where you can learn more about bear safety.

High summer and fall are the peak times of year for bear encounters, as the animals attempt to fatten themselves up in advance of hibernation. However, with a mild spring so far, many bears have been sighted here in the Tri-Cities already this year. This means that we’ve got a long season ahead of us. To help everyone stay safe and co-exist, here are some basic precautions to follow:

  • Keep garbage inaccessible to bears, and put it out after 5:30am on your scheduled pick-up day.
  • Pick fruit as it ripens and be sure to gather and dispose of any fallen fruit.
  • From April to November, manage your bird feeders carefully. Remove them when there is a bear in your neighbourhood, keep bird feeder areas free of debris and seeds, and take bird feeders down at night.
  • Burn off your barbecue grill after each use, and cover and store the barbecue a secure area when not in use.
  • Bring pet food and pet food dishes inside.
  • Don’t compost animal products such as meat or dairy, and keep your compost tidy and odour-free.
  • When you’re out walking, running or cycling in forested areas, make noise to warn bears away by wearing a bear bell, singing or talking.
  • If you see a bear, keep away from it and remain calm. Warn others, especially if it’s near a school or playground, and bring your kids and pets inside.
  • If you encounter a bear at close range, make yourself look big, group together, speak calmly, and back away slowly preferably in the direction you came from. Don’t run.
  • If a bear appears to be threatening human safety, pets or livestock; or destroying property, call police, or the Conservation Officer at 1.877.952.7277.

The reality is that most bears are non-aggressive, and will leave an area on their own. By ensuring that there’s no food source for them, and remaining non-threatening, you will reduce the likelihood that they’ll hang around or return later. So do your part and make sure you’re not providing any food sources that would attract bears to your home. Because the goal is for wildlife like bears to remain in the wilderness, and not in our suburban neighbourhoods.

If you’d like to find out more about avoiding bears and staying safe when you encounter a bear, the city of Port Moody is running a free Bear Essentials seminar at 7:00pm tomorrow evening (Wednesday, April 17, 2013) at Inlet Theatre. Join black bear education coordinator Christine Miller from the North Shore Black Bear Society for an evening of learning to better understand these animals. You’ll discuss attractants that bring these unwanted animals into yards, school grounds and parks.

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