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Too many bears were being destroyed. Here's what Port Moody did

The City of Port Moody is now a Bear Smart community to protect bruins, joining the ranks of Coquitlam, Kamloops and Whistler.
20220829 Black Bears 8
An adult female bear lays in a bear trap after it had been tranquilized. | Greg Colgan, RMO

Port Moody now has Bear Smart cred.

On Tuesday, June 25, city council celebrated its new status at Pioneer Memorial Park with provincial government officials and BC Conservation Service officers.

It’s the 11th municipality in the province to achieve the designation following:

To get the Bear Smart stamp, municipalities must develop public policies and take measures to stop bears from being habituated to human food and other attractants.

That’s because bruins that are food-conditioned lose their fear of humans, thereby creating a public safety risk and making it hard for conservation officials to drive them away.

Here are the criteria for municipalities to gain the Bear Smart status:

  • Prepare a bear hazard assessment
  • Make a bear–human conflict management plan
  • Revise planning and decision-making documents
  • Implement a continuing education plan
  • Develop and maintain a bear-proof waste management system
  • Approve Bear Smart bylaws

“Bear Smart status is not easy to obtain,” said Port Moody Mayor Meghan Lahti in a news release, while also thanking civic staff, residents, business owners, community partners and volunteers for their efforts.

“The most effective way to reduce human–wildlife conflicts is to secure attractants such as garbage, birdseed, compost, pet food and unharvested fruit trees.”

The city also recognized Carla Parr-Pearson, founder of the Port Moody Tri-Cities Bear Aware group, for her work with the Bear Essentials education program and to build awareness about bruins being relocated or destroyed because of food conditioning.

The city said more Bear Smart projects are in the pipeline, including:

  • creating permanent wildlife signage in parks and trails
  • developing more waste storage solutions
  • educating residents on managing attractants, wildlife coexistence and bear encounter prevention tips

If you see a bear in a park or your neighbourhood, call the BC Conservation Officer Service at 1-877-952-7277.