A mother bear and three cubs were relocated from Silver Valley on Wednesday.
Now residents of the northeast Maple Ridge neighbourhood are calling for action to reduce the number of problem bears, making it a ‘no-kill’ zone.
Last week, the B.C. Conservation Officer Service shot and killed three bears in the Silver Valley suburb, in north Maple Ridge. Another bear was shot, but escaped into the forest.
On Wednesday, conservation officers captured what they thought was a problem bear, only to learn it wasn’t the one they had been looking for.
“It was garbage pickup day in the area,” explained conservation officer Todd Hunter. “We captured some bears that were in Silver Valley. The sow was seen snooping through some of the garbage.”
Officers also discovered it was a mother bear with three cubs. Officers then relocated the family, Hunter said.
“Our hope with those bears is they move off and they don’t return and get into attractants.”
Silver Valley resident Susan Zanders said in a letter that residents are concerned and stressed by the number of bear incidents there.
“As a result, many people [are] looking for solutions. Bears are part of our area and the beauty of Maple Ridge.”
She and others are trying to draw attention to the issue and want to work towards turning Silver Valley into a “no-kill” area. One of the goals is to launch their own WildSafeBC program for Silver Valley.
“If we can get everyone educated and everyone to live conscious of what they do impacts these bears. Every little bit helps,” Zanders said.
Hunter, though, said the conservation service is working on a plan to improve safety. The service already works with WildSafeBC, he added.
“We’ve got a bit of a plan going forward on how we need to make sure we’re doing everything we can for that area to make sure, number one, that it’s safe and then we don’t have all these bears going into garbage.”
Two other bears were killed in April in Maple Ridge after becoming habituated to food sources.
According to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, bears are emerging from inactive periods at this time of year and searching for food.
Both the Conservation Officer Service and Maple Ridge Wildsafe recommend:
• taking garbage to the trash the morning of pickup, not the night before;
• wrapping and freezing bones, waste meat and other highly attractive garbage before putting it out;
• not to leave pet food outside;
• filling bird feeders only during harsh winter weather as seed attracts bears, as well as deer and rats, and therefore the animals that prey on them – coyotes and cougars.