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Port Coquitlam sees big spike in bear calls as bruins look for scraps

Concern is bears may not hibernate this winter if they can access food scraps and other attractants, and may only 'hide' when it rains.
Arezou Kamkar got an unexpected guest in his Port Coquitlam yard.

Calls about bears getting into human food waste and other attractants have seen a jump in Port Coquitlam this year and are not expected to slow in the coming weeks.

B.C. conservation officers report a 12 per cent jump in the city, while the number of calls in Coquitlam have stayed roughly the same since last year and Port Moody calls are down nearly 25 per cent.

However, call volume is for just seven months of 2021 thus far — since April 1 — and with five more months until the fiscal year turns over, Tri-City bear calls are expected to soar above last year’s levels.

Scroll to the bottom of the story for year-to-date bear call volume for the Tri-Cities.

"The COS needs residents and businesses to do everything they can to keep bears wild and not attracted to human food," states a spokesperson for the Ministry of Environment in an email to the Tri-City News.

According to the BC Conservation Officer Service (BCCOS), calls about black bears are usually about bruins being attracted to "unnatural" food and waste and more is expected because bear season is not over.

In fact, if stronger efforts are not made to keep bears away from human attractants, local bruins may not hibernate, the BCCOS explains, and instead will go into "poor torpor cycles" and only hide when it rains.

Port Coquitlam’s high call volume comes as the city is setting aside $125,000 for waste carts and locks to keep bears out of bins.

In recent weeks, residents on the Port Coquitlam Community Facebook page have been sharing their experience with waste cart locks and the so-called third arm, with some having success and others seeing bears finding a way to get in.

Meanwhile, Coquitlam has seen more than 1,000 calls so far this year, averaging 224 calls a month according to conservation officers.

Freezing smelly food scraps until garbage day is one way to keep bears away from green bins, the city of Coquitlam suggests.

Port Moody, has seen significantly fewer calls this year than the other two cities, with 281 calls to conservation officers compared to 368 for all of 2020.


Data provided by the BCCOS shows the number of recent bear calls in each major Tri-City community are as follows (listed in descending numerical order for each category):

2021 Black Bear Calls 

(To date, since April 1, 2021)

  • Coquitlam: 1,002
  • Port Coquitlam: 607
  • Port Moody: 281

2020 Black Bear Calls 

(For entire year) 

  • Coquitlam: 957
  • Port Coquitlam: 538
  • Port Moody: 368 

2021 Bear Calls

(Past month)

  • Port Coquitlam: 106
    • Averaging 115 calls per month since July
  • Coquitlam: 70
    • Averaging 224 calls per month
  • Port Moody: 30
    • Averaging 50 calls per month since July