An online video with more than 31,000 views is a chilling reminder to Tri-Cities' residents to be especially bear aware now that the weather is colder and the animals are fattening up for the coming winter.
A video posted to YouTube this week from a security camera in a Port Coquitlam townhouse development shows a close encounter between a curious bear and a young boy on his scooter.
After wandering to within a few feet of the boy, a man comes around the corner with his arms spread wide and chases it away.
The boy then just rolls on his way.
Online commenters have praised the actions of both the bystander and the boy.
"So glad the boy did not run," said one.
"I'm so thankful this man chased the bear away," added another.
According to bearwise.org, if you encounter a bear, it's advisable not to run as that could trigger the animal's chase response. Rather, back away slowly in the opposite direction and wait for the bear to leave.
The best way to scare a bear away is to make yourself look bigger by raising your arms or standing up on a rock and make loud noises or yell, "Hey, bear."
Earlier this month, the City of Port Coquitlam cautioned bears are particularly focused on feeding at this time of year and can be active day and night. From late August to November, they consume about 20,000 calories a day.
"Bears are food-driven and feed on natural and unnatural food sources including bird feeders, suet, chickens, rabbits and garbage," the city said in a news release.
"Residents and businesses are encouraged to play a role and are reminded to secure their waste and remove other attractants."
Not doing so, the city cautioned, could result in a $500 fine.
There can also be consequences for the bears.
According to the Fur-Bearers, an animal rights advocacy group, 3,779 bears were killed by conservation officers in B.C. from 2015 to 2021.
While many of those were in the Prince George area and other northern regions, Coquitlam ranked seventh in the province with 69 black bears killed in the seven year period.
Port Coquitlam saw 26 bears killed and another 11 were killed in Port Moody.
Tips suggested by the City of Port Coquitlam to keep bears from prowling at your home or business include:
- Keep carts in the garage or in an area not accessible to wildlife.
- Reduce odours by ensuring carts are kept clean by sprinkling a small amount of baking soda or vinegar
- Freeze meat and strong-smelling food scraps, and wait until collection day to put them into the green cart.
- Keep pet food inside.
- 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 high.
- Block access to small animals (chickens, rabbits) and berry bushes.
- with a file from Stefan Labbé, Glacier Media