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Bear expert shares animal tips

Learn about living safely with black bear at Port Moody Bear Essentials talk
Ellie Archer
It's bear season and outdoor guide and Bear Smart spokesperson Ellie Archer will be speaking to residents at a Port Moody Bear Essentials talk April 13.

Did you know that bears eat things like grass, clover, and dandelion? Vegetation makes up about 80-90% of a bears diet. Check out some of the yearlings (2015 cubs) currently in our care muching away!

Posted by Critter Care Wildlife Society on Saturday, April 2, 2016

A B.C. guide and search and rescue dog handler with years spent in the backcountry will bring her expertise and knowledge of bears to Port Moody this month for a Bear Essentials talk.


Ellie Archer is director of community outreach with the Get Bear Smart Society and says it's not enough to watch cute bear videos. To be bear smart is to be sensitive to wildlife and take responsibility for one's actions, including cleaning up animal attractants so bruins don't get habituated to human food scraps.

"We know more about these animals than we ever have and we need to implement what we know in the future," Archer told The Tri-City News. "Each life is precious is what I'm trying to say."

Archer, who grew up in Alberta and started out as an artist casting bronze sculptures of wildlife, including a family of bears that had been killed on the highway, says communities can become bear smart with a few practical steps.
Securing garbage is one way but people can also lose their fear of bears if they get to know their habits and not get upset when they see one in their neighbourhood.

Archer has spent a lot of time around bears guiding people into B.C.'s back country to view them and as a wildlife co-ordinator in Bella Coola, where grizzly bears were common.

From her experience, bears aren't aggressive. In fact, she says: "Bears have a nonchalant energy, which is what we could have if we were comfortable with them."

In her free Bear Essentials talk next Wednesday in Port Moody, Archer will provide information about bears and ways to live with safely with them. She said it's even more important for people to be bear smart this spring because 33 cubs will soon be released into the wild, bears that were picked up in 2015 after losing their mom to starvation or other circumstances. At least three of the bears are from the Tri-Cities.

The bruins now staying at Critter Care in Langley will be released a long distance away from urban centres by knowledgeable conservation officers. They are not expected to make their way back but, if they do, they shouldn't be able to find any human food or other attractants to get them into trouble, Archer said.

"We have a lot of cubs that are first-year or second-year cubs," she said. "We want them to be successful so we can continue with these rehab programs because we have to. We all need to work together to keep these bears safe."

• The Bear Essentials talk takes place Wednesday, April 13 at 7 p.m. at Inlet Theatre in Port Moody city hall, 100 Newport Dr. Admission is free. For videos of bears just out of hibernation at Critter Care Wildlife Society, visit that group's Facebook page. Critter Care's annual dinner and auction is taking place April 23. Call 604-530-2054 for tickets.