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Bears busy in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam
The B.C. Conservation Officer Service is ramping up service in the Tri-Cities and Maple Ridge for bear season.
And one of the first jobs facing Sgt. Todd Hunter, who joined the local CO branch this week, is to respond to a flood of complaints about bears moving into Port Coquitlam and Coquitlam neighbourhoods, including strata complexes, drawn to dumpsters and containers of recyclables.
“Generally, those types of places [stratas] do not have as much capability,” Hunter told The Tri-City News, adding that he has received a number of reports about bears in denser neighbourhoods around the Tri-Cities.
“It’s the big general message we’re trying to get out: We want to limit the attractants and for people to store them appropriately,” said Hunter.
His appointment to the Tri-Cities and Maple Ridge is part of an overall reorganization of CO services in the Lower Mainland, which is being done to provide more leadership and better serve the area, Hunter says.
One of the first questions Hunter said he was asked this week is how people should deal with bears in their yards, which is a common complaint, especially from people whose properties back on to greenbelts.
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The concern comes as a video showing a man scaring off a bear by yelling and swinging a stick at it was posted on YouTube and aired on CTV this week. The video has since been taken down.
Hunter said he hadn’t seen the video but doesn’t advise people to approach a bear in any situation, even if it doesn’t seem aggressive. He said people should be cautious around bears, either leaving them alone to vacate the area on their own or calling a conservation officer if the bear seems to be aggressive or persistent in looking for food or other attractants.
People should only try to scare the bear by yelling at it or making loud noises if they are well away from it and safe from any aggressive move by the animal.
“Generally, it’s not advisable to approach any sort of wildlife, particularly bears, especially in an urban environment. They could be habituated, they could be agitated, if they are cornered in any way, it’s a normal reaction [for the bear] to be defensive.”
He also recommended leaving as much detail as possible in the call to the Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.