Along with crocuses, hungry bears are starting to pop out hoping for for an early spring.
This week, bears are being spotted in several neighbourhoods throughout the Tri-Cities, including a skinny bear captured on video by a security camera in Port Coquitlam on Feb. 9.
"First bear of the season. Middle of the day," wrote one poster on the Port Coquitlam Community Connections Facebook page.
His video shows a small, skinny bear making its way across his front lawn.
But this hungry bruin is not the only early riser in the Tri-Cities.
According to the Wildlife Alert Reporting Program,(WARP), there are at least three bears, possibly more, in local neighbourhoods.
One bruin has also been spotted in downtown Port Coquitlam, near McAllister Avenue and the city hall precinct.
A city spokesperson told the Tri-City News that the city is well aware of the bruin and asking businesses to secure their trash.
"The city and Conservation are aware that there have been bear sightings in the downtown and other areas of Port Coquitlam. Bears are waking up at this time and making their way out of their winter dens," stated Dominic Long, director of community safety and corporate support in an email.
The bear is likely living in the woods along the Coquitlam River and making its way into the city in search of food.
Other bears reported on WARP include:
- a bear spotted in the Gatensbury Road neighbourhood of Port Moody, possibly attracted to garbage (reported on Feb. 14),
- a bear spotted on Quinton Avenue near Mundy Park in Coquitlam, also food conditioned (reported on Feb. 14)
- bears spotted in the River Springs neighbourhood of Coquitlam, but as yet these are just sightings and not related to food, according to WARP
According to the Ministry of Environment, there have been 10 reports of food-conditioned bear encounters in the Tri-Cities since Jan. 1.
"During periods of warmer weather in the winter months, bears may become temporarily active and seek out food sources," stated the ministry in an email to the Tri-City News. "If bears are previously food conditioned leading up to winter, they may not hibernate at all."
The spokesperson confirmed that conservation officers are working with bylaw services within the Tri-Cities to address attractant issues.
With bears already awake, it's time to be sure to lock up all attractants including food waste, bird seed, organics and other materials that could be attractive to bears.
Restaurants with grease pits and dumpsters are also asked to take care of their storage as this has been a problem in the recent past.
In December, 2021, a bruin was spotted in an open dumpster near a PoCo business.