The big black bear that was seen tangling with a dog and trying to smash its way into buildings in north Maple Ridge on Friday hasn’t yet been found after being shot.
Conservation Service officer Sgt. Todd Hunter doesn’t know if the bear is alive, but reiterated Monday that he doesn’t believe there’s a risk to the public.
Officers showed up along north 224th Street, near 129th Avenue, to see a bear “interacting” with a dog, then trying to get into homes where people were inside at the time.
“The bear was so far habituated to people. It was actually pushing on doors,” said Hunter.
At this time of year, bears should be in hibernation.
“It’s not natural. This thing was well established in the area. People were well aware of this bear and some of the things it was doing. It just escalated to the point where we needed to intervene and remove that bear from the environment,” Hunter said.
That’s when bears are the most dangerous, he added.
“A large bear like that was trying to display its dominance towards people.”
Because of the rain, after the bear was shot,
It was difficult to track the bear after it was shot because of rain as conservation officers lost its trail.
A group of four officers resumed the search on Saturday and were out again Sunday, and Monday were still monitoring the area.
Hunter said that officers try to take their best shot to put down an animal. Shooting an animal is their last option when dealing with problem wildlife.
But once they pull the trigger, they don’t have any control over what happens afterwards and sometimes an animal that’s been shot can get away.
That scenario is difficult for conservation officers, he added.
“We can only do our best at the time. We’re doing our best to ensure the public’s safety. Not all the time, will it just drop in its tracks, stone dead.”
Hunter said that bears and other wildlife continue to pay the price of residents not controlling or eliminating food sources, whether that be food or livestock.
He still sees unsecured garbage cans throughout Maple Ridge.
“It makes me sick. We’re tired of this.”
It’s up to the public to change and help with education and enforcement.
“To blame us is not entirely accurate.”
Hunter said that the main goal is to reduce the number of human-animal conflicts and people have to do everything possible to prevent that.
Properly installed electrified fences around chicken coups and animal paddocks is the best strategy.
“It works like a hot damn,” Hunter said.