Bear safety tips
The RCMP typically sees a spike in bear reports from early May through September as residents and visitors come in more frequent contact with the animals. While seeing a wild animal up close can be shocking, it is important that the public understands the facts on bear encounters and how to react if it happens to you.
According to the Conservation Officer Service (COS) in the Lower Mainland, a very small percentage of human-bear interactions result in attacks or even aggressive/threatening behavior. In most cases, the bears are simply observed going about their bear business.
The RCMP and the COS have some tips to keep in mind:
The COS is interested in tracking bear sightings. The police are an emergency response agency that should only be contacted if the bear poses an immediate threat to public safety.
If you see a bear that is going about its regular bear business, such as walking through your yard, trails, or open park spaces, don’t panic. Leave it alone and do not cut off its escape path. It is normal for bears to roam through urban areas, especially as development encroaches on wild space. Report the sighting to the COS.
Bears are attracted to a number of human produced attractants, such as garbage, BBQ’s, ripe fruit and bird feeders. If you encounter a bear feasting on these irresistible food sources or a bear that is acting threatening or aggressive, call the COS 24hr hotline at 1-877-952-RAPP (7277). Dispatchers can provide advice for sightings when public safety is not threatened and a Conservation officer may be dispatched depending on the circumstances.
If the bear poses an immediate threat to public safety, call 9-1-1 for police response.
Residents can contact their local municipalities or log-on their web sites to learn more about bear safety and what you can do to prevent undesirable bear behavior.
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