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BEARS IN AREA: Bears are a fact of life in Tri-Cities

BEARS NOT PROBLEM The Editor, I am black bear fan who moved to Port Coquitlam last spring and I am surprised to discover people referring to the problem as a "bear problem" when the only issue I see is people not using any sense when it comes to resp


The Editor,

I am black bear fan who moved to Port Coquitlam last spring and I am surprised to discover people referring to the problem as a "bear problem" when the only issue I see is people not using any sense when it comes to respecting bears when we moved into their home. It's all about respecting something that could potentially do you harm.

Bears are curious and, like humans, if they smell something good they will go and investigate.

I am a keen wildlife photographer from Scotland so I was very excited to encounter bears last year on my evening walks.

My first bear encounter was coming across a bear in a field as he was eating something in the tall grass and when he stood up for a closer inspection, I can still remember the hairs standing up all over my body as I froze, acknowledging this was a very cool moment. The bear checked me out and I backed off slowly. The bear then carried on as if I hadn't ever shown up, which proves they aren't really that interested in us - apart from our garbage, that is.

The second photo was one I was very happy to get later in the year when I came across a not-so-happy bear based on the look he gave me right beside a bear sign. But again he gave me a look that said "Give me space, pal" so I did and then he carried on his merry way.

Jamie Douglas, Port Coquitlam


The Editor,

Before Port Moody had the new "bear-proof" garbage cans, we had quite the bear problems up on Heritage Mountain. Bears in our garages, bears in our garbage, bears in our yard - everywhere.

One day, my son J.C. Polidoro, walked to buy himself a treat at the local 7-Eleven store. He purchased something to eat and a drink and started to walk back down the hill. Not looking where he was going (a route he knew all too well), he proceeded down the hill on the trail leading to our street. As he neared the corner of the path, he heard something. He paused and looked up to see a large black bear.

He froze as the bear proceeded to walk right up to him. The bear sniffed him (as a dog would) in greeting, turned and lumbered away.

Needless to say, once the bear was out of sight, J.C. quickly made his way home, where his grandfather notified the conservation officers. Although J.C. felt the bear was quite large, the officers said that it must have been a young, "curious" bear, as generally adult bears don't go that close to people.

Thank goodness the bear decided that J.C. wasn't worth bothering with and thank goodness J.C. still wasn't holding his treats from the store.

It only shows how comfortable the bears have become living in our neighbourhood. We have noticed, however, that since we have the new locked garbage cans, there were few bears in the area. Let's hope it stays that way!

L. Polidoro, Port Moody


The Editor,

A few years ago, my brother and I were walking home after at lunch time. We had just crossed Pipeline Road in front of the Windsor Glen trailer park (which is no longer there) when an SUV pulled up next to us. A woman rolled down her window and said there was a bear walking behind us.

We turned around and there was a bear casually crossing the road behind us, about 15 to 20 feet away.

My brother had the presence of mind to ask this Good Samaritan if we could possibly have a ride as we just lived around the corner but, just to be safe we wanted to put some distance between us.

Thank God for this kind woman to notify us and she even went above and beyond and brought us home and we didn't even get her name.

Natalie Legrow, Coquitlam


The Editor

I would like to relate to you my experience Saturday afternoon when, leaving the house, I discovered my large, empty garbage bin opened and thrown down the driveway.

Upon retrieving it, I immediately noticed several dirty smudges on the hood of the car, which was parked in the driveway facing the house and only a few feet from the garage door. On closer inspection, they revealed themselves to be footprints (above) belonging to what I surmise was a bear cub.

We live on Mariner Way in Coquitlam in the River Heights area and have heard of bear sightings in such places as the Riverview grounds but would never believe that one would be dancing on the hood of my car! Undoubtedly, the mother was nearby. The point of this letter is that residents all over Coquitlam should be wary of inadvertently attracting bears with garbage, pet food and the like. My container was empty but I feel urban bears now know that even he sight of a garbage bin means food. Please keep your bins indoors, even if they are empty.

Cliff Barber, Coquitlam

Editor's note: A bear was hit by a car this summer while crossing Mariner Way and had to be destroyed because of its injuries. Mariner Way is a popular - and dangerous - crossing for bears; three have been struck by cars in recent years, according to Coquitlam's Bear Aware co-ordinator.