Traps set, parts of Coquitlam's Mundy Park closed due to bear family

BC Conservation Officer Service said trio of bears are good candidates for relocation

A trap has been set for a family of black bears in Mundy Park that conservation officers said could be good candidates for relocation.

Certain parts of the park have been closed to the public while officials work to safely capture the sow and two yearling cubs, which have been active in the area for more than a month.

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"Please respect these closures," the BC Conservation Officer Service (BCCOS) said in a statement to The Tri-City News. "The family unit has received food rewards from unattended picnic baskets and backpacks."

When bears become habituated to human food, it can be difficult for them to relocate to the wild.

But there may still be hope for the Mundy bruin family, according to BCCOS.

"The bears are conditioned to human food but may be suitable candidates for short-distance relocation," said the statement.

Kathleen Reinheimer, Coquitlam's manager of parks and facilities, confirmed the trap is located east of Spani Pool and the trails in the area have been closed to the public.

She said city staff is increasing its waste management efforts in the park to limit the presence of animal attractants.

"[Environmental services] is stepping up their presence," she said. "All their regular staff is in the park and talking to the public as they come in."

The parks department and environmental services will be assessing the situation and may take further action to restrict usage of the park if necessary, she added.

BCCOS said it has been working closely with the city of Coquitlam to deal with the Mundy bears and added that any sightings or conflicts should be reported as soon as possible to the Report All Poachers and Polluters line at 1-877-952-7277.

It has been a busy 2019 for bear activity in the Tri-Cities.

According to data from the provincial Wildlife Alert Reporting Program (WARP), the number of sightings in Coquitlam is up from 283 at this point in 2018 to 413 this year.

But Verne Kucy, the city's environmental project manager, said that does not necessarily mean there are more bears in Coquitlam, noting, "One bear can generate a lot of calls."

Residents appear to be doing a better job of securing garbage and animal attractants, he said, adding the number of fines issued under the city's solid waste bylaw has dropped dramatically.

"And it is not for a lack of change in the level of effort for patrolling," Kucy said. "We have tried to be consistent… The number of residents in Coquitlam in compliance with the solid waste bylaw is getting better and better."

The city of Port Moody has also seen a jump in WARP reports, up from 68 in 2018 to 161 in 2019, while Port Coquitlam has seen a drop from 202 in 2018 to 151 in 2019.

While it is still early in the bear season, three bruins have already been destroyed in the Tri-Cities — one in Coquitlam and two in Anmore. In all three cases, the bears were causing property damage and relocation was not an option.

"They had hit that threshold and were a safety risk," BCCOS Sgt. Todd Hunter said in May.

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