Hot food, BBQs, banned in B.C. park as momma bear sniffs out picnics

COQUITLAM, B.C. — Hungry bears roaming through a large urban park in Metro Vancouver have prompted a warning for picnickers and park users hoping to prepare tasty al fresco treats.

Effective immediately, all hot food and any type of cooking or barbecuing is banned in Coquitlam's Mundy Park.

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A statement from the city says a bear sow and cubs have been sighted frequently, possibly attracted by the smell of cooking food, and several human-bear conflicts have occurred.

Picnickers can bring cold food but are advised that bags and backpacks containing the goodies should never be left unattended, while leftovers or garbage must be disposed of in the park's bear-proof bins.

A humane trap has been set to capture the bruins and relocate them before they become habituated to human food.

The cooking restrictions will be lifted once the bears have been moved out.

City officials say bears are common in the nearly two-square-kilometre, forest-like park, but this family of bruins seems particularly interested in smelly food.

"The City of Coquitlam will be notifying park user groups and event organizers of the restrictions, and summer day camps at the park will hold lunch and snack times indoors," the statement says.

Bylaw officers will enforce the new rules and the city also says park staff will step up garbage removal and maintenance until the sow and cubs are gone.

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