'There's a bear in my house': second trap set near Coquitlam park after close encounter
Karin Duggan was reading in the living room of her Coquitlam home Tuesday evening when she heard a noise.
"I looked over and there was a bear coming into the kitchen," Duggan said.
Her home is located near Mundy Park, where recent bear activity has prompted a temporary ban of cooking and hot foods. She said the animal entered through the patio door, and which was open due to the heat. Duggan grabbed her small dog, shut herself in her young daughter’s room, and called 911.
“I said I don’t know if this is the right person to call, but I’m trapped in the bedroom and there’s a bear in my house,” Duggan recalled.
Coquitlam RCMP confirmed they attended the home around 8:30 p.m. Officers arrived to find the bear on the patio. Duggan said they made loud noises to scare it off, but it took a bit of effort.
“They tried to use their airhorn and apparently twice it tried to come back on the deck,” Duggan said.
Neighbour David White said he had seen a bear in his yard that same day.
“Couple of hours later, I saw it again. And this time it seemed to be hanging around so I banged a pot to try and scare it away,” White said.
Eventually, the animal took off, leaving before conservation officers arrived. Sgt. Todd Hunter, of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, said officers checked the neighbourhood for the bear, and one resident attempted to block officers from their yard.
“People cannot restrict us in the course of our duties,” Hunter said, and added a fine or charges are possible.
A live trap has now been set up nearby. Hunter said if captured, the bear will be put down.
“When it enters a home it’s a pretty significant public safety risk,” Hunter said.
It’s the second live trap lying in wait in the area. The other one is intended for a mother bear and two cubs, who have been sighted at the park and have gotten into food left behind by people. The hope is the family may be possible candidates for relocation, but will have to be trapped and assessed before a decision can be made. Hunter said despite all the recent warnings, people and businesses are still leaving attractants in easily accessible places.
“It’s upsetting,” Hunter said. He gave an example of someone who recently brought their improperly secured garbage containing food waste to the curb the night before because they didn’t want to get up early. Just leaving garbage bins outside can be a significant problem.
“(A) large percentage of these homes have garages, so those can be stored in the garage. Up against the homes just provides ample opportunity for bears,” Hunter said.
Commercial waste is posing problems too. On Monday, a young male bear spotted near Coquitlam Centre mall was killed by conservation officers after it was determined the animal had been eating garbage. Unsecured industrial food waste containers were found in the surrounding area, prompting a warning.
“We need everybody to do their part,” Hunter said.
Hunter also said they’ve had one case where a live trap in Anmore was tampered with: the door closed by an unhappy neighbour using a hammer. Hunter said a warning was also ultimately issued in that case, but added he wishes people would focus that kind of energy on prevention efforts.