12 bears were killed this year in Maple Ridge.

Bad year for bears in Maple Ridge

12 killed by conservation officers who say residents are failing to heed calls to lock up garbage or buy bear-proof bins

A dozen bears were killed this year in Maple Ridge as repeated calls for residents to keep their garbage secure continue to fall on deaf ears.

B.C.’s Conservation Officer Service reports the municipality, along with the Tri-Cities, leads the province in nuisance calls, despite a Bear Aware program that’s been in operation since 2012.

There were almost 100 more calls from Maple Ridge to the conservation service this year over last (683 from 588).

The number of bears euthanized this year is four times the number killed in 2012 and slightly lower than 2011, when 15 bears were put down.

It’s a simple equation. More people are moving into areas frequented by bears, which use wildlife corridors next to developments to get around in search of food. And “as we develop on those hillsides, absolutely we’re going to see an increase in conflict,” said Sgt. Steve Jacobi of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service.

It means the COS’s Maple Ridge-based officers are stretched to the limit.

The District of Maple Ridge has a Bear Aware program that targets neighbourhoods which generate the most conflict calls, to educate residents.

It’s been a year since a bylaw was put in place restricting when garbage can be put out, but the district hasn’t handed out a single fine.

Bylaws director Liz Holitzki said her department issued 74 warning notices to people who put their trash out before the morning of pickup, but no tickets were necessary as there were no second offences at the same properties.

Bear Aware will continue its education campaign through the winter because not all bears hibernate. Male bears will stick around if there’s enough food.

“Twelve bears destroyed is an obscene number,” said Dan Mikolay, a WildSafeBC coordinator based in Maple Ridge.

Some of them were euthanized because of an injury, but most were killed after becoming hooked on garbage and other attractants.

Garbage is still the No. 1 reason bears are wandering into residential neighbourhoods. The second is bird feeders.

“This year we have focused on high-incident areas, trying to educate residents on the need to properly store their garbage, not putting bird feeders out, and recycling their BBQ grease at the recycling depot,” said Mikolay.

Despite the number of bears killed, he believes progress is slowly being made.

“I am seeing more bear-resistant garbage cans out on the curb when I go out to check on early set-outs. It is a small investment, but it dramatically reduces wildlife conflict,” he added.

Ross Davies, with the Kanaka Education and Environmental Partnership Society, has also noticed more bears around this year. His latest encounter with a bruin was two weeks ago.

For a community to be completely “Bear Smart,” every single home would need to be bear-proof.

“It’s like a chain, one missing link and you have a problem,” he added.

Davies recommends making a bear’s visit to your property as unpleasant as possible. Toot your car horn, yell and drive the bear away.

“If he’s in the back 40, then that’s no problem. But if he’s out on your porch, he’s got to be told it’s your den, you are the bigger bear,” said Davies, who lives along Fern Crescent, a neighbourhood often frequented by garbage-addicted bears.

“We’ve never had to fink on a black bear the whole time we’ve lived here. But if a bear doesn’t leave your property within a minute, then he needs to be reported.”

Meanwhile, province-wide, 325 black bears were killed last year, compared to 460 in 2012. Calls for black bear and grizzly sightings were also down, to 13,023 from 14,549 the year previous.

with files from The Tri-City News


Just Posted

OUTLOOK: Golden Ears Way – easing the congestion

Mayor wants TransLink to four-lane Golden Ears Way up to 203rd Street.

Maple Ridge second lowest for number of ODs

Coroner’s stats in for third quarter of the year

Flames lose at home, win in Mission

Host Kodiaks on Friday night

Weavers and spinners to kick off holiday shopping

The Whonnock Weavers and Spinners’ 38th annual exhibit and sale takes place Nov. 25

VIDEO: E. coli outbreak linked to romaine lettuce sickens 18 people in Ontario, Quebec

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it’s working with U.S. authorities to determine the source of the romaine lettuce those who got ill were exposed to.

Lower Mainland suspect identified in fatal northern B.C. hit and run

Suspect and seven other individuals believed involved located on Haida Gwaii

‘Bait and switch’ warning ahead of Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Competition Bureau of Canada is warning shoppers of illegal sale tactics

Legal battle ahead for suspended B.C. legislature executives

Public removal ‘very unfair,’ says veteran clerk Craig James

B.C. sees biggest spike in homicides across Canada, at 34%

Much of the killing was attributed to gang violence, according to Statistics Canada

Sea lion tangled in rope on Vancouver Island

Marine debris is a ‘significant problem’ for marine wildlife

Postal strike affects charities at critical fundraising time

Canadian fundraising professionals and charities join call for fast resolution

$90,000 pen from space created by B.C man

The Space pen is made from a meteorite

B.C. woman fined $2,300 for clocking 215 km/hr in Alberta

It’s the highest fine Alberta police have issued

Most Read