City of Vancouver bans bear bangers within city limits

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City of Vancouver bans bear bangers within city limits

Many of the loud bangs that have been heard over recent months in Vancouver will end now that exploding animal deterrents have been banned in Vancouver.

Also known as bear bangers, air bangers, or seal bombs, these hand-held explosive devices are intended to used to scare away wildlife without harming them.

However, within the first six months of this year, the City of Vancouver’s 311 service received 180 complaints and the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) received over 360 calls about explosive noises in the downtown area.

The city stated that the VPD found evidence of modifications to exploding animal deterrents for use as improvised explosive devices, which are a threat to public safety.

In response, city staff conducted consultations with retailers, suppliers, industry associations, outdoor recreation clubs, conservation groups, the B.C. Conservation Officer Services, and the B.C. Society for the Prevention of Cruelty towards Animals.

The City of Vancouver announced today (July 24) that city council voted to ban the sale and use of all exploding animal deterrents within city limits, effective immediately.

Anyone who sells or uses them within Vancouver may be fined $1,000.

Residents can continue to purchase these items in neighbouring municipalities or online.

City staff will consult with stakeholders about a potential permissions system for professionals who use these devices for their work.

The city notes that although these devices are intended to scare animals away, some frightened animals may move in unintended directions, such as toward the user, and the devices can also be a fire hazard in dry conditions.

Parks Canada banned the use of these devices in federal parks and instead recommend that people travel in groups, speak loudly, sing, or carry noisemakers such as pebbles in a can to alert wildlife to human presence, and to also carry bear spray for close encounters.

Under federal regulations, the use of exploding animal deterrents for any other reason than personal protection from wildlife is illegal.

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