May 01, 2024

Wildlife Safety

At the SFU Burnaby campus, we learn, work, and live among wildlife. Burnaby Mountain is home to black bears, raccoons, deer, owls, cayotes, and cougars (among others) where sightings are common.

The SFU community is asked to report wildlife sightings and incidents to Campus Public Safety by calling 778-782-4500.

How to Prevent Wildlife Encounters:

  • Dispose of garbage and food properly. Keep recycling and trash bins closed.
  • Do not feed wildlife, including raccoons and bears. It's against the law and creates unsafe conditions for wild animals and people.
  • Make noise when you are on campus trails as this alerts wildlife of your presence and avoid you. Keeps dogs leashed, if any.
  • Distance yourself from wildlife. Do not approach wildlife for any reason and give it as much space as possible.

On Owls:

  • Some owls can be aggressive during nesting season, which is usually between mid-March to late May. 
  • When possible, avoid flowing hair, ponytails, and fur hoods when walking along trails in forested areas as these can appear as prey to owls. 
  • When caution signs are posted on sidewalks adjacent to tree lines or in forested trails, consider taking alternative routes.


What to do if you encounter a wild animal

  • Remain calm. Slowly back away, avoid direct eye contact and talk to the wildlife (especially bears) in a quiet, monotone voice. 
  • Do not run or climb a tree. Do not scream, turn your back on the bear, or kneel down
  • Keep away from all wildlife. Do not follow or approach for photos and videos.
  • If you are with other people, stay together and act as a group. Pick-up and carry small children.
  • Go indoors. If you have a pet, take them with with you.
  • Report wildlife sightings and incidents by calling Campus Public Safety at 778.782.4500.


  1. Avoid and give them as much space as possible
  2. Never approach for photos
  3. Remain calm and slowly back away

See a bear? Call Campus Public Safety at 778.782.4500.


  1. Dispose of garbage and food properly
  2. Never approach for photos
  3. Do not feed or encourage them to stick around

Raccoons are not friendly or safe. Please do your part to keep them away.


  1. Slow down while driving around Burnaby Mountain
  2. Do not pull over in your vehicle to take photos
  3. Don't approach and always keep a safe distance to wildlife.

In the event of an attack

Black bear attacks are rare. However, if one occurs there are varying recommended responses depending on the situation, though each encounter is unique. Familiarize yourself with the general guidelines below.