Bear put down after entering Coquitlam homes

Conservation officers catch medium-sized black bear up a tree in Coquitlam neighbourhood

Video courtesy of Harry Warren

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A bear that had made itself comfortable in a Coquitlam neighbourhood in the past week was caught and killed Monday.

Sgt. Todd Hunter of BC Conservation Officer Service (BCCOS) said the medium-sized black bear that got into homes in the Como Lake Avenue and Seymour Drive area was put down around noon.

Hunter said the service first got a report of the bear getting into a home on Seymour Drive the evening of July 23; it grabbed some garbage out of the kitchen and dragged it into the yard.

Coquitlam RCMP and the BCCOS couldn’t find the bear, so a trap was set a couple of doors down from where it had been spotted lying on a big branch in a tree for most of the day. Hunter said in the following days, the bear was sighted going back and forth between the homes — including entering another on July 24 — and nearby Mundy Park.

Monday morning, the bruin was spotted back up the tree where some dogs had chased it, he said. The officers tried to immobilize it but weren’t successful, so “due to some circumstances, we had to put it down right on the site,” Hunter said.

“It was comfortable to that home and that area, and was not leaving that area,” he said. “It was removed and it was done safely.”

Hunter said the bear was unrelated to the family of bears that had been spotted in early July in Mundy Park. He added some education and enforcement were carried out in conjunction with Coquitlam’s parks department but “there’s a number of issues in the area that we identified as attractants, a lot of food waste either securely placed in the bins provided or not securely placed.”

Although last year Coquitlam reported the number of tickets it had handed out to residents for not following the rules for putting out garbage had decreased from 2017 because the education and enforcement campaigns had been effective, the problem has not been eliminated.

“Without all the facts, there are still some things that residents and businesses could be doing that could prevent this from happening,” Hunter said. “The charges are down but there are still some issues.”

Another bear was put down last week when it was attracted to open garbage bins and grease traps in a mall at Glen Drive and Johnson Street. Hunter said the strata was served with a dangerous wildlife protection order July 25. Since then, the owners have been complying with terms of the order and are “working with us on how to go ahead in the future to make sure they don’t have this issue again.”

He added the strata has been not only cleaning and tidying up the area but will put its food waste in an enclosure so bears can’t get at it. 

Hunter said the service has identified a number of food retailers in the surrounding area, particularly along Barnet Highway and Lansdowne Drive, with industrial bins containing food waste that could become problems. Hunter said some of those businesses have plastic bins with flimsy lids that are unacceptable, which is a big problem when the property backs onto a major ravine.

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