Black bear eludes Burnaby RCMP

Bears are waking from their winter hibernation and at least one of them may have found its way into Burnaby's Central Valley.

On Sunday evening Burnaby RCMP responded to a call about a black bear wandering through backyards in the 3200 block of Phillips Avenue.

Staff Sgt. Major John Buis said patrols in the area didn't turn up the bear, but an officer later saw it walking toward Coquitlam along the Lougheed Highway. It disappeared into the nearby woods.

Buis said while the RCMP doesn't normally track calls of bear sightings, this one seemed to come "earlier than usual." He said they normally don't hear about wandering bears until later in the year, when they're looking for food to prepare for hibernation.

Last week the wildlife alert reporting program of the British Columbia Conservation Foundation logged three sightings in Burnaby in two days, all of them of a black bear rummaging through garbage near a townhouse complex off Cariboo Road. The program records wildlife encounters that have been reported to local conservation officers and displays them on an online map.

The foundation's Bear Aware program recommends keeping garbage, fruit, compost and bird feeders out of the reach of hungry bears to minimize their temptations to wander into urban areas.

It says garbage should be kept indoors or in secured containers until the morning it's to be collected. compost should be turned regularly and bird feeders should be left empty when bears are active.

The foundation estimates an average of 500 black bears are killed every year in the province because they've become habituated to the presence of humans or conditioned to eat human food.


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