A video of two black bears wrestling on a backyard trampoline in Coquitlam, BC prompted a wildlife expert to advise caution as the animals come out of hibernation and often approach humans.
The video, shot last Sunday by Coquitlam resident Rose Waldron, shows a no holds barred cage match between two young bears, doing their best pro wrestler impersonations as they compete on his trampoline.
Doug Waldron, Rose’s husband, says the bears regularly visit the family’s backyard, which is located near a lake near the Coquitlam River.
“That’s their bathing place and their fishing hole. It’s their country,” he said. “They can come and go as they please. They don’t bother anyone.”
WATCH | The Ursine Wrestling Match in Coquitlam Courtyard:
Waldron says bear visits have become so regular this spring that he leaves the gate open so wandering bears don’t jump over his enclosures.
“We’ve been sitting around a picnic table, having coffee or something in an afternoon, and a mother and her puppies will come to the yard,” he said.
“They will notice that we are there, they will turn around and go away.”
Despite the notable back and forth of the wrestling contest, Waldron says most of the trampoline is undamaged, with the trampoline’s net and platform unaffected by the bears’ sharp claws.
The fiberglass rods holding up the trampoline net, however, have broken under the weight of the bears, with Waldron sadly saying he will have to replace them.
“It’s good enough for someone [weighing] 150 pounds or less, I’m sure, “he said, laughing.” But having 800 pounds of bear on the trampoline didn’t help matters. “
Safety tips for bears
Experts say human-bear encounters are expected in the coming weeks, as the animals begin to move in search of food after a winter sleep.
Vanessa Isnardy, program manager for the WildSafeBC outreach group, says people should try not to get close to bears roaming near their homes.
“We encourage people, when they are shooting videos, to do it so that the bears are not aware of your presence,” he told CBC News.
“We don’t want bears to get too comfortable or get used to people. This leads to a lot of problems.”
It’s not a joke.
Hundreds of black bears are killed every year due to the association of people and their activities with unnatural food sources.
Bears who learn to seek out unnatural food sources are more likely to come into conflict with people. pic.twitter.com/1VOOK47VmR
Isnardy says it’s important that wild bears don’t eat human food, but instead rely on natural food sources.
“Bears are omnivores. They will eat a wide variety of things if they can get some calories from them,” he said. “If you have leftover noodles that have gone bad in your trash, they might go later.”
Isnardy says people should try to secure their trash cans so the bears can’t reach them, preferably in their garage if they have access to one.
“You always want to make sure that your garden is in order, that there is nothing that can entangle an animal,” he said. “It’s really important as a responsible person that if you have a bird feeder, you really keep it inaccessible to your non-target species.”
Isnardy says yard owners should consider cutting down their bird feeders for spring when the bears start roaming and check their local regulations to see if they can install electric fences to dissuade them from entering their courtyard.
He thinks the Waldrons have been visited by year-old black bears who will eventually leave their mothers this year and make their way around the world.
As bears are soon emerging from their burrows, now is the time to make sure your trash is safe. WildSafeBC has several tips for keeping bears away from your waste:
– Store litter indoors whenever possible
– Freeze stinky items until the day of collection or transport pic.twitter.com/fJrwPxIxlh
“Bears tend to want to avoid people. They want to avoid our human activities,” he said. “But when we have young bears growing up in an urban environment … They start to lose that natural distrust of people.
“It is really important that everyone discourages bears from going out to their backyards and communities, [and] encourage them to move to all natural places where it is safer for them. “