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North Van trail cam captures backyard menagerie

The cameras caught two different black bears, coyotes, deer and someone's golden retriever sniffing about.

It’s absolutely wild out there, if you only know where (and when) to look.

With the help of a motion-activated trail camera, Yos Gladstone has been capturing and sharing videos of the backyard menagerie that passes through a greenbelt in his neighbourhood of Canyon Heights.

Gladstone recently took about two and a half months of footage and edited it down to two and a half minutes of animals going about their business. The clip features numerous deer, coyotes, two different black bears, raccoons, squirrels and someone’s golden retriever.

“It’s definitely a corridor for critters back there. We've seen really everything since we lived there,” he said.

Gladstone, a wildlife and fishing guide with Chromer Sport Fishing, said his urban guests are always astonished by how much there is just outside our paved and built-up environments.

“You're 15 minutes out of downtown Vancouver, and you have that sort of wildlife activity moving around in an urban space. It's pretty neat.”

Trail cameras are mainly used by hunters to get the drop on their prey but Gladstone sets them up “just out of curiosity.”

“[It’s just] for the love of animals and seeing what they do,” he said.

His trail cameras in Squamish and other more rural parts of the province have captured even more – elk, grizzly bears, bobcats, lynx, packs of wolves. The only local fauna footage he doesn’t have yet is that of a cougar.

The videos, more than being a curiosity, could be a step toward city dwellers cultivating a better relationship with our wild neighbours, Gladstone reasons.

“I think that people see it as a bit of a nuisance when the raccoons are in your garbage and the coyotes are eating your cat and the bears are scaring your kids, but you have to come to a level of appreciation that all these animals were there well before us,” he said. “If you can co-habitate and give those animals some fair space, and give them some corridors to move around. ... I think it's a pretty neat aspect of living in North Vancouver.”