Next time you find yourself on Burnaby Mountain or at Simon Fraser University, be aware - you are in bear country.
David Cox, the conservation officer for Burnaby, wants the public to know bears are roaming on Burnaby Mountain, close to SFU. Cox told the NOW he's received numerous bear sighting reports lately, up to two or three calls a day, but the bruins aren't causing trouble.
"In the SFU region and Burnaby, we've been receiving a lot of call volume with sightings of black bears, including a sow with cubs," Cox said. "They are not really causing a problem. - They are minding their own."
Bear sightings on Burnaby Mountain are an annual occurrence, but Cox said some people are shocked to spot the animals.
"The message is: They are there. Some people don't even know there are bears in Burnaby Mountain.
It's a total shock to them," he said. "We want people to be aware that if you are going to be in that area, you are in bear country."
Cox said people should keep dogs on leashes while hiking or walking on the mountain.
It's also important not to leave attractants around, such as garbage, fruit or anything a hungry bear may find appetizing.
According to Cox, there are multiple bears on the mountain, at least three or four, but the female with cubs has generated a lot of concern, because most people expect her to ferociously protect her offspring.
"She hasn't showed any signs of aggression," Cox said.
"They are not causing a problem. We are certainly monitoring the situation (to) ensure public safety if necessary," he said. "They are always going to be there."
Cox said it's hard to say if there's a permanent population on Burnaby Mountain, but they do appear every year, as it's a wooded area, with lots of wild food available and few other bears to fight with for territorial control. There is a chance the bears may migrate down the mountain in search of food if the warm weather dries out the berries and grasses they feed on, he said.
Cox said if one spots the female and cubs, there's nothing to be afraid of, but do not approach or feed the animals.
"Back up the way you came in and chose and alternate route," he said.
To report any unusual bear behaviour, call the 24-hour conservation officer line at 1-877-952-7277.