British Columbia

Two bear cubs rescued from Coquitlam dumpster

Conservation officers have rescued two bears found in a dumpster in Coquitlam, B.C., but say the mother will have to be killed because she has become too habituated to garbage.

Mother of three cubs will be killed because she is habituated to garbage

Bear cubs trapped

10 years ago
Two bears were rescued from a dumpster near a Coquitlam, B.C., school, but their mother had to be killed, reports the CBC's Belle Puri 2:04

Conservation officers have rescued two bears found in a dumpster in Coquitlam, B.C., but say the mother will have to be killed because she has become too habituated to garbage.

The cubs were trapped in a dumpster outside the front entrance of Summit Middle School and their cries could be heard throughout the neighbourhood on Wednesday morning.

Police and conservation officers remove one of the bear cubs from the dumpster at Summit Middle School in Coquitlam, (B.C. Steve Lus/CBC)

Officers managed to tranquilize and remove the two cubs around 8 a.m. PT before students arrived for morning classes. Earlier in the morning the mother and one other cub, which were up in a nearby tree, were also tranquilized and taken away

Officers said the mother will need to be killed because it's too late in the season to relocate the bears and because adult bears aren't good candidates for rehabilitation, but the cubs will be taken to a facility for rehabilitation.

Unsecured garbage killing bears

Drake Stephens, coordinator of Bear Aware Coquitlam says bears will continue to die if people and organizations fail to secure their trash.

"The reason she has triplets is she was so successful at getting food in the community before. And as long as people don't get the message, bears are going to continue to die," said Stephens.

"Actions should have been taken all summer long to prevent this bear from becoming habituated to garbage," said Stephens.

Coquitlam School District spokeswoman Cheryl Quinton said even though the school is right next to a green belt, there is no policy requiring the school keep the trash bins locked, although it is supposed to routinely be locked overnight.  

"It's not been particularly an incident in the past at this school because of the regular removal of the garbage, but we will of course look at ways to improve things," said Quinton.