Mother bear and her cub spotted near Kanaka Creek Park Fish Fence. (COMMUNITY/Image Supplied)

Mother bear and her cub spotted near Kanaka Creek Park Fish Fence. (COMMUNITY/Image Supplied)

Ross Davies advises on bear safety in Maple Ridge

With more bear activity this season, local expert stresses safety

With bear activity higher than usual for this time of year, local expert Ross Davies advises on what to do when one encounters a bear.

Davies, education coordinator for Kanaka Education and Environmental Partnership Society, said the high activity is related to food sources, particularly because of a poor berry crop caused by a late winter.

In response, Davies stationed himself at Kanaka Creek Regional Park fish fence in Maple Ridge this week on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon to advise visitors on what to do if they come across a black bear in the area.

The most important thing, Davies said, is to keep a distance of at least 100 metres.

If one happens to be closer than 100 metres, move back and give the animal that space.

One of the other things that Davies stresses the most is to use caution when taking a photo.

“If you want to take a picture, go ahead but use a camera with a really good zoom lens on it. Cellphone camera is not a good idea,” he said. That means keeping your distance and staying out of the dense bush, he reiterates.

It’s an offence to harass or approach a bear that’s otherwise acting normally, causing it to alter its behaviour, Davies added.

The fish fence at 240th Street is a popular spot for bears to roam. Davies has been following the multiple bears in the area, and has become familiar with their behaviours and movements. A snow fence and additional signage was put up three weeks ago, deterring visitors from going into the forest.

He said that even though the bears in the area are comfortable around humans, it does not automatically mean that they are dangerous, although they could be. Black bears are known to be timid and can, at times, be quite oblivious to their surroundings, according to Davies.

But, “People [must] stay where bears expect people to be,” he said.

READ ALSO: Conservation officers says waste collection system attracts bears

And wandering into the forest looking for the bears is more likely to result in an unpleasant encounter.

Instead, respect the animal’s space and stick to the trails and roads that are marked for the public’s use.

Davies, who has many years of experience working with the animals and knows the bears in the area, said that even he won’t venture into their habitat for any reason.

Davies lives on the Alouette River and has had many sightings in his own area as well.

The closest he came to a bear was when he was at home and he felt something graze the top of his head. It was a bear that had just jumped over him after Davies had spooked it.

They both escaped injury free.

Because humans stand taller than bears, bears are threatened by people, and if cornered, they will defend themselves, Davies said.

If you find a bear in your backyard, the best thing to deter it is to grab some pots and pans and make some noise.

“You have to show them that this is your den,” Davies said.

The bears have never showed any aggression here, he added.

“The messaging we seem to be getting from the bears is, to be consistent and keep your distance,” he said.

They’ve been very consistent with us, so humans should return the favour and be just as consistent back.

“We would hate to see bears relocated from here. To where? This is their home.”


 


mathilda.devilliers@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Pitt Meadows residents can take part in a free online emergency preparedness presentation on Tuesday, May 18, 2021. Sign up in advance. (Pitt Meadows graphic)
Pitt Meadows presentation helps residents prep for emergencies

People can sign up in advance for the Tuesday event

Pitt Meadows fire chief Mike Larsson said a quick-thinking neighbour helped keep a utility trailer fire from causing serious damage to a residence (Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News file)
Neighbour with garden hose helped save Pitt Meadows home

Helped to prevent fire in trailer from spreading to nearby house

Kanaka Creek Regional Park. (Metro Vancouver/Special to The News)
Visiting parks is good for your health, says UBC study

Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows many parks provide opportunities

A 49-year-old man from Coquitlam died after he was hit by a dump truck near Airport Way and Harris Road on Saturday, May 15. (Curtis Kreklau/South Fraser News Services)
VIDEO: Pedestrian dies after being hit by dump truck in Pitt Meadows Saturday afternoon

Man was walking his bicycle across the road near Airport Way and Harris Road

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of May 16

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

B.C. Wildfire Services shows a fire on Chehalis Forest Service Road as of Sunday, May 16, 2021. (BC Fire Services)
Wildfire near Harrison Mills grows to 3 hectares, BC Fire Service on site

Resident near wildfire: ‘I pray that the Creator brings rain as soon as possible’

A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine is seen at a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, April 22, 2021. Dr. Ben Chan remembers hearing the preliminary reports back in March of blood clots appearing in a handful of European recipients of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Science on COVID, VITT constantly changing: A look at how doctors keep up

While VITT can represent challenges as a novel disorder, blood clots themselves are not new

Poached trees that were taken recently on Vancouver Island in the Mount Prevost area near Cowichan, B.C. are shown on Sunday, May 10, 2021. Big trees, small trees, dead trees, softwoods and hardwoods have all become valuable targets of tree poachers in British Columbia as timber prices hit record levels. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne.
Tree poaching from public forests increasing in B.C. as lumber hits record prices

Prices for B.C. softwood lumber reached $1,600 for 1,000 board feet compared with about $300 a year ago

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

The Independent Investigations Office of BC (IIO) (File Photo)
Police watchdog investigating after man found dead in Surrey following a wellness check

IIO says officers ‘reportedly spoke to a man at the home before departing’

Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

People shop in Chinatown in Vancouver on Friday, February 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver community leaders call for action following 717% rise in anti-Asian hate crimes

‘The alarming rise of anti-Asian hate in Canada and south of the border shows Asians have not been fully accepted in North America,’ says Carol Lee

Most Read