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Bear rescued from tree in Pitt Meadows

Firefighters had to use ladder truck to get tranquilized bear to safety
Pitt Meadows firefighters rescued a bear in a tree along Harris Road. (Special to The News)

A black bear had to be tranquilized and rescued from the top of a tree during rush hour in Pitt Meadows on Tuesday.

Conservation Officer Services received a request from the Ridge Meadows RCMP at about 4:30 p.m. to help with a black bear in the downtown core of Pitt Meadows, off Harris Road.

Sgt. Todd Hunter, with the BC Conservation Officer Services, said officers responded and removed the bear from a tree just abutting Harris Road with assistance from the RCMP and the Pitt Meadows fire department.

“It was removed from the tree without incident and without injury,” said Hunter, noting that the bear was a juvenile male, not a cub.

Pitt Meadows firefighters said they were called to assist Ridge Meadows RCMP at around 7 p.m. on June 6, on the west side of Harris Road, just north of 124 Avenue, where they had to use the ladder truck to access the bear.

This was the second night of 24/7 coverage for the team in Pitt Meadows, said deputy fire chief Tracy Warren, and four firefighters and one chief responded. At first they arrived with Engine 1, but had to call for the Quint, or ladder truck, to get the bear down.

“The bear’s legs and arms were stuck in the branches and the PMFRS had to put up their ladder truck and pull the bear safely onto the tip of the ladder,” explained Warren, adding that the 180 pound animal was tranquilized with two shots from conservation officers, who said that the bear would be sleeping for about two hours.

“The bear was then lowered to the ground and carefully put into a bear cage to be relocated,” Warren said about the once in a lifetime call for the new career firefighters.

He said they assisted until about 9 p.m.

READ ALSO: Conservation officer appeals for help reducing bear conflicts

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Hunter said after consulting with the conservation’s wildlife veterinarian and biologist, it was decided that they would release the bear back into the wild in an undisclosed area on Wednesday, June 7.

“We do not know what brought it to the area,” said Hunter, noting that even though it doesn’t happen frequently, once bears do enter the Pitt Meadows area, there are not a lot of escape routes for them.

He said they are working with the City of Pitt Meadows to identify any attractants in the area that may have brought the bear in like garbage or food storage and to identify hot spots with attractant issues.

Hunter is asking businesses and residents to help them do everything that can be done to prevent a conflict with wildlife.

“We need people in Pitt Meadows to step up a lot more and make sure that they do not leave their garbage out on the curb at night,” he said.

“If you leave it out, they will come around.”

There is increased bear activity in the area and the Silver Valley Neighbourhoods website sees posts from people saying bears are in yards eating grass, multiple times each day.

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Colleen Flanagan

About the Author: Colleen Flanagan

Colleen Flanagan is an award-winning multimedia journalist with more than 15 years experience in the industry.
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