Port Moody aims to become 'Bear Smart'
Activists in Port Moody are looking forward to a future in which situations like the one that unfolded Friday -- when a mother bear was euthanized and her three cubs orphaned -- are no longer necessary.
Conservation officers killed the bear because she had become too familiar with human food sources, and thus posed a threat to the public. Video of her running through a suburban neighbourhood, followed by her cubs, was widely circulated on social media earlier in the week.
"The video was heartbreaking," said Judy Taylor-Atkinson on Saturday. "It was very difficult to watch. I hope that we don't have to see videos like that anymore."
Taylor-Atkinson said the city has been working on a plan that would see it declared a "Bear Smart" community, according to provincial standards.
The plan was already in progress before the mother bear was euthanized this week. Her cubs will be sent to a rehabilitation facility.
Taylor-Atkinson hopes the incident will draw attention to the plan.
"I just hope that this moment can be a galvanizing moment for all of us and that we'll be able to see in at least a year that there's a different outcome than we're having right now," she said.
The city's Bear Smart strategy is likely to be completed and approved sometime next year, according to Taylor-Atkinson.
Adopting such a strategy would see Port Moody follow in the footsteps of neighbouring Coquitlam, which applied to become a Bear Smart Community in 2016, and has been recognized as such by the provincial Conservation Officer Service.
On Saturday, Taylor-Atkinson described the process her city has been going through in order to achieve this designation.
"The city hired one of the most foremost experts in B.C. and he did a bear hazard assessment," she said. "What we're trying to achieve with the Bear Smart status is a reduction in bear encounters in the city; is a reduction in bear mortality ... Bears will be safer. Residents will be safer."