Conservation officers (BCCOS) say they are working with local officials to remove attractants after two bears were destroyed in Port Coquitlam and another relocated from downtown Coquitlam.
BCCOS Sgt. Todd Hunter believes Tri-Cities residents "have to do more" as homeowners and businesses are attracting bears by leaving food waste carts and dumpster bins unsecured.
"Just locking the green bin is not enough," he says, while encouraging everyone to follow WildSafeBC safe yard tips.
"We have to do as much as we can."
The call for more individual action comes as two bruins were recently destroyed in Port Coquitlam for being "conflict" bears.
On May 23, a bear had been frequenting a housing and commercial complex at Shaughnessy Square — located at 2099 Lougheed Hwy. — and had a history of habituation in the neighbourhood close to Aggie Park.
The creature found itself cornered in a busy parking lot in the middle of the development, where it climbed a tree.
Coquitlam RCMP were called, Hunter said, and conservation officers tranquilized and removed the bear from the scene "without harm to the bear or property."
However, follow up information revealed the bear was habituated to "unnatural" food sources, according to Hunter, and was ultimately destroyed.
"It was not a candidate for relocation and its poor health condition was a primary consideration."
Another bear in Port Coquitlam was destroyed on June 7 for conflicts in a neighbourhood where garbage had been left unsecured.
"There are definitely things we can do, we can do better," Hunter explains, adding Port Coquitlam bylaw officers are also following up with education and, in some cases tickets, to try to clean up areas where bear conflicts are happening.
Trapped and relocated
More recently, a bear wandering out of the woods was trapped and removed from the busy Glen Drive neighbourhood in Coquitlam.
In that instance, Hunter says there was no information that suggested the bruin was a conflict bear.
"We subsequently tagged it and relocated it. We're monitoring it. Hopefully, we'll have success with it staying out of conflict."
So far this spring, Port Coquitlam has seen the most bear complaints at 125, compared to 118 for Coquitlam and 38 for Port Moody.
A debate has been raging on PoCo social media about whether to report locations of bear sightings out of concerns conservation officers would investigate and destroy them.
Hunter says bear calls are tracked via the Report All Poachers and Polluter line (1-877-952-7277).
He notes decisions are made based on bear conflict history, as well as with occasional assistance from wildlife management from B.C.'s ministry of forests, lands, natural resource operations and rural development.
Social media not a big source: BCCOS
However, social media posts are sometimes taken into consideration when officers are alerted by media relations officers.
Many of the calls coming through RAPP are related directly to the cities for follow up education and enforcement, Hunter says.
"We need the direct communication to us, It's not third party, we want our information so that we can get reliable facts," explains Hunter.
"Are we alerted to different posts, yes, our media relations may alert us to issues or the cities can communicate with us."
While the number of destroyed bears is relatively small this spring — two compared to 10 last year — Hunter believes there are enough concerns out there that people should still stay alert in their neighbourhoods, and especially keep food waste out of the reach of bears.
"We have a lot of conflict with bears accessing unnatural food waste. We want to see that number reduced, we're working very closely with the cities and our other non-government agencies to assist with that."