Introducing the latest Bear Smart community! 🐻 Surrounded by farms, rivers, trails and wildlife corridors this community is an enticing place for black bears. Through ongoing efforts, Coquitlam is committed to reducing human-bear conflicts. Coquitlam, British Columbia (facebook.com)
Coquitlam is the newest community in British Columbia to be recognized for its collaborative efforts to reduce human-bear conflicts.
Surrounded by farms, rivers, trails and wildlife corridors, this Metro Vancouver municipality is an enticing place for black bears.
Coquitlam has been actively addressing this by successfully implementing all 50 recommendations outlined in their Bear Hazard Assessment, including establishing a new wildlife-resistant solid-waste management system, and developing and enforcing a variety of Bear Smart bylaws, such as ensuring grease containers are inaccessible to wildlife.
Public outreach, including social media ads, multilingual materials and educational campaigns have raised awareness to residents about bears and the need to limit attractants. This message was also reflected in all relevant city-planning documents, which were updated to ensure Bear Smart requirements and policies were followed.
Through these ongoing efforts, Coquitlam is committed to reducing human-bear conflict in and around the city.
The Bear Smart community program encourages local governments, businesses and individuals to work together to address the causes of human-bear conflicts, while taking action to reduce the risks to human safety, property and bears themselves.
Bear Smart communities typically experience fewer human-caused bear conflicts. Over the last two decades, there has been a reduction in human-bear conflicts in B.C. This can be largely attributed to public awareness programs, such as Bear Smart and WildSafeBC.
Coquitlam is the eighth community in B.C. to earn Bear Smart status, joining New Denver, Naramata, the City of Kamloops, the District of Squamish, the Village of Lions Bay, the Resort Municipality of Whistler and the City of Port Alberni as Bear Smart communities.
Mary Polak, Minister of Environment –
“Congratulations to the people of Coquitlam for their hard work in becoming a Bear Smart community. It takes an entire community to help reduce human-bear conflicts. Residents, businesses and the city took steps to help limit opportunities for bears to wander into their neighbourhoods and create problems. I hope other communities across B.C. look to Coquitlam as a great example to follow.”
Linda Reimer, MLA for Port Moody-Coquitlam –
“I am so proud of all the wonderful work the City of Coquitlam has done in educating our residents and businesses to ensure bears will not be tempted to spend lengthy periods of time in our urban neighbourhoods. Our community has really come together to implement the steps the City of Coquitlam has outlined such as securing food attractants, that help reduce human–bear conflicts. I’d like to congratulate the city for all their hard work to help make sure wildlife stays wild.”
- The Bear Smart community program is designed by the Ministry of Environment, in partnership with the British Columbia Conservation Foundation and the Union of British Columbia Municipalities.
- Community requirements to attain Bear Smart status include preparing a bear hazard assessment and management plan for the community and surrounding area, delivering bear conflict reduction education, developing a bear-resistant solid waste management system and adopting Bear Smart bylaws.
- Relocating wildlife is not a viable or long-term solution in managing these types of conflicts.
- The most effective way to reduce human-wildlife interactions is to secure food attractants, such as garbage, birdseed, compost, pet food and fruit.
- In B.C., it is an offence to feed or leave attractants available to dangerous wildlife.
For more information on the Bear Smart Community Program and its criteria, visit: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/plants-animals-ecosystems/wildlife/human-wildlife-conflict/staying-safe-around-wildlife/bears/bear-smart
For more information about human-wildlife conflicts and what can be done to help prevent them, visit WildSafeBC at: https://wildsafebc.com/
Predator statistics, including black bears and grizzly bears, are updated monthly at: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/plants-animals-ecosystems/wildlife/human-wildlife-conflict