TAYLOR, B.C. — A frightening incident led to a black bear being destroyed by Conservation Officers on Sunday after it broke into an occupied tent on Peace Island Park early that morning.
Sgt. Shawn Brinsky with the Conservation Officer Service said that the C-O-S first received a call at around 2:30 yesterday morning of a black bear that was up a tree in Peace Island Park. She said that such reports are not uncommon, especially at this time of year, and that officers decided to investigate further after daybreak.
At around 9:20 a.m., officers responded after getting another report from park staff of a bear that had been hanging around the area, before they learned from a camper at the park that a bear had broken through the screen of his tent at around around 1:00 a.m. The camper was not injured and scared the bear off, but the animal returned to the tent three hours later.
Sgt. Brinsky said that Conservation Officers evacuated that area of the park and set several traps, one of which caught caught a bear yesterday evening in the exact same location of the tent. After looking at a photograph previously taken of a bear in a tree, measuring the paw prints on the tent and measuring the caught bear, officers came to the conclusion that the bear was most likely the same one that broke into the tent early that morning. The bear was subsequently euthanized.
Sgt. Brinsky said that the incident serves as a warning to campers to keep bear attractants hidden or locked up so that the smells don’t lure the animals.
“There’s a couple things at play here,” said Brinksy. “When camping, even in Regional Parks you in and around greenbelts in this area, you have to make the assumption that you’re going to be in and around wildlife, and that can include bears. You want to make sure you have a clean campsite, and that you’re bear aware. We have to make that people are diligent with keeping attractants and garbage inaccessible to bears. Especially at this time of year when they’re a little bit food-stressed. They’re looking for food, they’re curious, and they’re going to check out smells and odours. A bear demonstrating that type of behaviour is something that is indicative of a bear that’s been rewarded with non-natural food sources.”
This isn’t the first close call in Northeast B.C. in recent years. Nearly three years ago to the day, 27-year-old Daniel O’Connor was found to have been killed by a black bear while he slept by a campfire just outside of Mackenzie. The bear and a wolf, which was also seen in the area were later tracked down and euthanized by Conservation Officers.