A young injured bear who had been snacking on garbage for weeks was shot out of a tree early Wednesday in Maple Ridge Park.
The bruin died in front of shocked onlookers who were surprised by the sudden appearance of armed Mounties and a conservation officer just before 9:30 a.m. on 232nd Street near Fern Crescent.
“When I pulled up, I heard a loud bang,” said Cynthia Hillier, who was driving home after dropping her daughter off at school.
“People were upset. It’s unusual to see three RCMP officers with shotguns standing around the park.”
Wounded on its front left leg, the two-and-a-half-old male bear had been frequenting the park for an easy meal from garbage cans for at least a month.
Conservation officer Paul McFadden said at this time of year, female bears chase away offspring because they are going to bred again.
“This was unfortunate because it was an injured bear and it just had an opportunity to feed on garbage,” he added. “There are so many garbage cans in the park that are not bear-proof. Bear-proofing garbage cans is never a bad thing.”
Bear sightings are up across the region as bears leave their dens in search of food.
On Friday, in Coquitlam, conservation officers tracked and shot a bear in woodlands near Minnekhada Regional Park after a bow-hunter wounded it while trying to kill it on a blueberry farm. Another bear was shot a few weeks ago in the agricultural area not far away near DeBoville Slough after it killed some chickens.
Two bears have been destroyed in Maple Ridge this year. A trap failed to catch a bear that killed a goat and two rabbits on a property near 287th Street but it hasn’t been back at the property.
The Ministry of Environment’s Conservation Officer Service received 23,240 reports of bear sightings between April 1, 2010 and March 31, 2011.
During that time, conservation officers attended 2,827 incidents in which bears were acting aggressively or public safety was an issue. As a result, 120 bears were relocated, while 675 bears had to be destroyed.