Letter: Let dead bear educate neighbours

The Editor, Re. “Dead bear is the point” (The Tri-City News, May 2).

The Editor,

Re. “Dead bear is the point” (The Tri-City News, May 2).

article continues below

A preserved black bear displayed in the lobby of Coquitlam city hall is a great idea, and should other specimens come along, Coun. Teri Towner’s idea of displaying them at libraries is good as well.

The fact of the matter is, on its northern border, Coquitlam shares a huge backyard with wildlife, a wilderness stretching 115 km straight north past Whistler, and development is continuously encroaching on the territory.

Developers coming through the front doors of city hall should be aware of how they need to be mindful of their “neighbours.”

Here on Burke Mountain, we still gleefully tell the story of the construction worker who got trapped in a porta-potty for 45 minutes on a 30 C day because he and his fellow workers left their lunch litter strewn about. In the past, we have also heard stories of workers feeding wild animals. Bears are not stupid; they are creatures of opportunity and learn how to attain the fastest food supply.

People are curious about the wild animals that live nearby and among us. I see people and their children getting out of their cars and creeping closer to the animals with their cameras. Deer are not safe. They’re wild and unpredictable and have been known to stomp pets and people with their sharp hooves.

A native species black bear on display at city hall will confirm that, yes, they have thick fur, are big and powerful, and have sharp teeth and claws, so if a person comes across one, they should keep their distance, preferably from a protected place. At least this unfortunate bear will serve a higher purpose.

Black bears prefer to avoid people and run away. They do not stalk humans but will defend themselves if surprised or trapped, or if they feel their young are threatened.

They have excellent senses of smell and hearing so if you want to avoid them while out walking, keep talking, make noise, keep your dog leashed. To avoid attracting them to your home, keep your garbage secure. They can smell your offerings from many kilometres away and so can their friends.

Enjoy the trails of our big backyard. I’ve had bears walk through my yard but I’ve never met one on a hike.

One more thing: Coquitlam’s Bear Aware person, Julie Kanya, will give a family-friendly 45-minute presentation about living near wildlife at the upcoming meeting of the North East Coquitlam Residents Association on Thursday, May 17 at 7 p.m. at Victoria Hall. Don’t be nervous; be informed.)

Janet Klopp, Coquitlam 

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