The Tri-Cities is defined by its proximity to nature.
With beautiful mountains, a bountiful ocean, wetlands and river ecosystems, residents are among the luckiest in the world to have nature so close to home.
Much of that rich, natural bounty was the focus of stories in the Tri-City News this past year; some of the stories were cute, a few were adorable and some were sad.
Here’s our top-10 list of animal stories for 2021 (in no particular order):
- One story that sparked gladness was the reunion of a beloved black poodle with his Anmore family after spending three nights alone in November in the woods near a popular hiking trail on Port Moody's Eagle Mountain. Guinness was the subject of an extensive community search during a big rain storm but was eventually found by an experienced mountain biker who used a tire tube as a leash to bring him home.
OWL AT CITY HALL
- In December, Port Coquitlam city workers were startled to see a small owl hanging out in a hallway at city hall. She was eventually captured and held until volunteers with the Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation (OWL) society showed up to give her a check up. The northern saw-whet owl was ultimately released near a PoCo park so she could continue her southern migration.
OFF-LEASH DOG ATTACK
- Most dogs are kept under control and lovely to see on a trail. But in May a Coquitlam man was traumatized when he was attacked by four unleashed dogs on a trail near Westwood Plateau. He suffered several bites and wanted the city to do more to prevent future occurrences. Coquitlam said it already patrolled the area but would consider placing more signs reminding people to leash their pets.
- Weasels look cute but they are feisty and aren’t afraid to attack prey that is bigger than they area. That appeared to be the case in August when a Port Coquitlam man captured an image of a tiny weasel dragging a rat or a squirrel out of a corner of his garage. “I find that caution and respect as well as patience is all that is needed to get along with wildlife,” Rick Longworth told the Tri-City News at the time.
TRAFFIC SAVVY COYOTE
- A wily coyote was caught on video taking a leisurely stroll in downtown Port Coquitlam in broad daylight, stopping for traffic and using the crosswalk to get across Shaughnessy Street safely. "I was super surprised to see it! I think it's sad that we're encroaching upon wildlife homes so much," said Tzara Emanuelli. The coyote didn't seem to be too worried as it crossed the street, but Emanuelli's video caused a stir on the Port Coquitlam Community Facebook page when she posted it.
- A young, healthy bear failed to get an invite to a massive party for the Port Coquitlam Community Centre in October. But the bruin showed up downtown that day anyway, shocking passersby. He was eventually tranquillized and relocated out of town. Although he hit the ground when he fell from a tree, conservation officers said he wasn’t injured.
- Tina Borsa, a Coquitlam teacher, spotted a metre-long corn snake near Robson Park and helped city workers turn it in to a Maple Ridge vet. Dr. Adrian Walton of the Dewdney Animal Hospital posted a video on his hospital Facebook page warning people not to “dump” pets when they get tired of them. The snake was found outdoors in January and could have died from exposure if it hadn’t been rescued.
- Cougars generally shy away from humans but three had to be euthanized in Port Moody in March because they had lost their fear of humans, according to conservation officers. The cougars had become comfortable living in urban residential settings and were hunting “non-natural prey,” including a German Shepherd owned by a search and rescue volunteer. An online fundraiser generated thousands of dollars to help the man replace his beloved companion.
BEARS TAKE A DIP
- In June, during record high temperatures, a Coquitlam family was surprised to see a mama bear and two cubs taking a dip in the family pool. Lyle Jeffrey uploaded the video to Twitter about 2:30 p.m. on June 27, just as temperatures were reaching 37C or higher. Jeffrey told the Tri-City News the bears stayed in the pool for about an hour and then wandered off to Mundy Park.
- In June, a boxer took on cividc duties with the election of Port Coquitlam’s first pet ambassador. "Raiin" the five-year-old Boxer, earned the title after winning the inaugural pet election, which also acted as a fundraiser. Run by PoCo Heritage Museum and Archives, participants were asked to make a $1 donation to vote for one of 33 candidates — 29 dogs, three cats and one rabbit — in the campaign. More than $2,000 was raised for the non-profit organization.