A Port Coquitlam woman is warning her neighbours that a bold bear has figured out how to open bear-resistant waste bins and doesn't seem to fear humans.
Alexandra Verano-Bibby was throwing some green waste away on Friday with her four-year-old son when she rounded the corner of her home on Charleton Court and came face to face with a black bear.
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"I did the typical things of trying to scare him away as soon as I saw him, but instead of him turning around and running, like I usually see them, he actually got up on his hind legs and actually came toward me, like four or five steps quite quickly," said Verano-Bibby.
"I took that as, 'this is my garbage, back off.' I took that as the bear charging me, so I basically flung my son behind me and I just sort of backed up out of there as quickly as I could."
Verano-Bibby took her son, Ronin, back inside and watched the intruder from her upstairs patio.
"He just sat there and was eating my green waste," she said.
Verano-Bibby's home backs Hyde Creek, a major thoroughfare for wildlife including heron, eagles, salmon, and of course, bears.
"They usually start showing up in April-May, and they're with us until about October," she said, adding that she'll see two or three bears in her yard each week, but they'll usually wander off when she shouts and claps her hands.
After calling the City of Port Coquitlam for a new bin and bear lock to replace the damaged set, Verano-Bibby got in touch with the B.C. Conservation Service.
"They were at my door in about 15 minutes, and they were bringing a large bear trap with them," she said. "They set a pretty good trap. They had some molasses. They had some sardines. I think they had some chicken, so it was a really yummy treat."
But on Wednesday morning, the trap was taken away empty, with the brave bear still at large.
"This one particular bear is still at large and that does concern me and worry because he wasn't afraid of me and all the precautions I took to scare him away," said Verano-Bibby.
The City of Port Coquitlam distributes a bin clasp to homes in areas frequented by bears, but according to Verano-Bibby, they don't do the trick.
"My bin was locked, but obviously the locks aren't good enough," she said, speculating that since the two parts of the clasp were still attached, the bear was able to bend it and just slide it right off her green waste bin, which was laden with scraps including corn cobs, egg shells, chicken bones and coffee grinds.
Conservation Officers ask people to leave smelly waste bins indoors until garbage day, but Verano-Bibby said the smell wafts into her home from the garage, and the downstairs tenants need to be able to access the bins, so they stay outside.
A staff member with the City of Port Coquitlam's Public Works department said such incidents are not common and the locks are certified by the B.C. Conservation Foundation.
The staff member, who was speaking on background and asked CBC not to use his name, said in some cases the locks aren't being used properly and residents should consult the city's website for directions on proper waste-cart lock use.
Meanwhile, Verano-Bibby hopes the bear doesn't cause any more trouble in her neighbourhood.
"He's still out there somewhere, and he likes your garbage, and if he wants to get into your green waste bin, he will. Those locks aren't enough."
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