It may only be February, but bear season has already begun in the Tri-Cities.
Coquitlam Mounties and conservation officers were called out to the area around Pinetree Way and David Avenue on Feb. 6 after a bear was seen rummaging through garbage. Officers were able to scare the bruin away using rubber bullets.
Police are urging residents to secure their garbage and to avoid leaving bear attractants like compost accessible.
"This is the starting of the bear season and the bears are waking up," RCMP Cpl. Jamie Chung said.
He noted bears caught in the city are usually destroyed.
"People have to realize bears find our garbage irresistible. It is a feast to them. If you leave your kitchen garbage out in unlocked containers, I guarantee bears will come looking for 'dinner' in your neighbourhood," Chung said. "Sadly, bears often lose in a bear-human conflict, so be kind to bears. Help save them by being sure your kitchen garbage and other attractants are inaccessible to them."
While no official numbers have been released for 2012, the Conservation Service fielded 890 bear sighting calls in the Tri-Cities in 2011.
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