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Social distancing for bears advised by wildlife advocates in Metro Vancouver

“It’s time to take precautions to avoid attracting [bears] close to our homes."
The North Shore Black Bear Society is urging people to keep their "social distance" from bears this spring. Photo: Dylan Monteith

The North Shore Black Bear Society is hoping residents will learn to apply “social distancing” to bears as well as humans.

“It’s time to take precautions to avoid attracting [bears] close to our homes,” said Christine Miller, of the local bear advocacy group.

Miller said there have been bear sightings in several areas in recent months, including some as far back as January and some a recent as this month.

Bears have been spotted in the British Properties, in neighbourhoods near Lighthouse Park, in Dollarton, near Capilano Road, Lynn Valley and Grousewoods, said Miller.

Miller said some of the sightings have been quite early this year, but it's not unusual for black bears – which are not true hibernators – to occasionally come out of their winter dens and poke around.

Many local bears probably hibernate quite close to residential areas,” she said. “They do wake up and stretch and step outside their den. If they smell something that’s available for them to eat, that would probably entice them into the community.”

Miller said some of the bears have been getting into residential garbage, including garbage that has been left at the curbside overnight.

Some are also attracted to birdseed in feeders. Miller advises residents to use smaller quantities of birdseed and to monitor the feeders to help keep bears away.

Other bears are being reported because residents happen to see them on their images captured on home security camera systems, she said.

“The bears were probably moving about before, but we just didn’t know about it.”

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