Be Bear Smart
West Vancouver is fortunate to have many green spaces with waterways that form natural wildlife corridors. As a result, we live in black bear country and need to know how to prevent and minimize human-bear conflict.
Bear season runs from April to October, but with warm temperatures and a ready supply of food, some bears may den for shorter periods. Bears are adapted to this region and cannot be expected to change. It is our responsibility to modify our behaviour to allow bears and people the freedom to safely co-exist.
Be Bear Aware – Avoid Food Sources in Your Yard
- Keep garbage inside a garage or basement, out of ‘sight and smell’; set out the morning of pickup
- Remove bird feeders or make them inaccessible to bears
- Pick ripe berries and fruit as they ripen; pick up fallen fruit regularly
- Feed pets indoors
- Keep your barbecue clean and grease-free; do not leave food unattended
- Remove outdoor freezers
- Wash jars and cans before recycling
- Compost effectively using an equal proportion of ‘brown’ (yard trimmings) with ‘green’ (vegetable and fruit scraps), keeping a layer of dry ‘browns’ on top, and aerating to accelerate material breakdown.
- Put away all petroleum products including rubber, tarpaper, paint, turpentine, kerosene, and charcoal fluid - bears are drawn to these products.
What to do if you see a bear:
- Stay calm
- Speak in a firm, clear voice - your voice helps to identify you as a human (and less of a threat). Often the bear is just passing through, and if it finds no food source, it will simply move on.
- Keep Well Away - slowly back away, and take children and pets indoors.
- Make Noise from a safe location to make the area uninviting.
- Remove the Attractant - if a bear has found food, be sure to remove the attractant once the bear has left.
- Report It to:
- North Shore Bear Line – 604-990-BEAR (2327)
- BC Ministry of Environment (Conservation Officer) - 877-952-7277
More than 1,000 bears are destroyed each year in British Columbia because they are attracted to residential food sources. Feeding bears, even unintentionally, is against the law in BC. To reduce attractants, the District has bylaws in place to enforce removal of bear attractants and ensure garbage is set out the morning of collection (and not the night before).
Garbage is the cause of 80% of bear-human interactions. Visit the District’s Bear Smart Tips for West Vancouver Waste Storage page to learn more about how to prevent bear incidents.