In recent weeks, wildlife has been a major topic of discussion on social media for students at Simon Fraser University’s Burnaby Mountain campus and the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver Point Grey Campus.
A black bear was spotted casually walking around the heart of SFU’s campus near the Academic Quadrangle on at least two occasions earlier this week.
The young animal likely found its way to Burnaby Mountain from the nearby woods or it may have swam across Burrard Inlet’s narrow channel from Belcarra Regional Park in the North Shore.
Bear sightings at the campus are not uncommon, and in most cases where the animal becomes too comfortable with humans they are tranquilized and relocated.
Local conservation officers have advised the public to give bears personal space and not approach it even for a photo. You should back away slowly while facing the bear. However, if a bear comes near you and acts aggressively, hold your ground, yell, face the bear and look directly at it. Do not play dead and do not run away.
— Matthew Van Deventer (@MattVanDeventer) November 26, 2014
— Julie (@JulianneK_) November 24, 2014
Meanwhile on the western edge of the Vancouver peninsula, a coyote has been prowling the UBC campus for approximately two weeks to date.
The coyote, nicknamed “Carter” by some students, was even captured on video hunting squirrels on November 18 on the Main Mall near the Engineering Faculty’s “E” landmark. He has even become a social media sensation having attained a Facebook fan page with 4,000 likes.
There are thousands of urban coyotes living in Metro Vancouver, including hundreds at UBC’s Pacific Spirit Regional Park, and they are highly adaptable as long as they are able to find food and shelter.
However, these animals can potentially become dangerous to humans when they lose their timidness and instinctual fear of humans.
“Coyotes are a great ambassador for nature and wildlife in our urban areas since they are so well adapted to living alongside us and are normally a timid and shy animal,”says Dan Straker, Urban Wildlife Programs Coordinator with Stanley Park Ecology Society.”These are amazingly intelligent animals, and learn quickly, which can make them dangerous in rare cases when people don’t interact with them responsibly.”
It is likely Carter was fed by a human and may now associate humans as a source for food. He has been seen and photographed numerous times in broad daylight within high pedestrian traffic areas at the middle of the campus.
Feeding a coyote is punishable by a $345 fine. If a coyote becomes aggressive, it could also force conservation officers to destroy the animal.
Feature Image: Magnus Hvidsten and Reddit