A search is on for a bear that was shot Friday night in Maple Ridge.
The bear was located around 224 Street and 129 Avenue by conservation officers after complaints that it had been exhibiting aggressive behaviour.
Conservation officer Sgt. Todd Hunter said a trap was set earlier in the week but to no avail. The bear kept returning to the area, going from property to property taking livestock.
It was a large aggressive bear, he said, that, he was told, had been doing this for quite some time.
On Friday at about 10 p.m. the bear had returned to the same property for the third time that night, said Hunter, and officers who arrived on the scene found it interacting with a dog on the street before wandering onto a property and pushing on doors, possibly damaging them.
It was exhibiting, “very persistent and bold behaviour”, said Hunter.
The bear was subsequently shot with what Hunter believes to be a mortal wound. He said he doesn’t believe it to be a danger to the public.
However, due to the rain, the bear was difficult to track and conservation officers lost the bear’s trail.
A group of four officers resumed the search on Saturday, from first light until the afternoon, said Hunter, but turned up nothing.
Hunter said they would be out again on Sunday searching for the animal.
“It’s definitely a scary situation for the residents,” about whom, he said, had been taking preventative measures to discourage bears.
“It was paramount that we intervened for their safety,” said Hunter.
Hunter wants to remind residents that they must follow the Maple Ridge bylaws about having livestock on their properties and to ensure that they are not attracting dangerous wildlife. He recommends electrifying coops and making sure feed for the animals is stored properly.
He also warned that Conservation can issue orders and lay charges, adding that they have laid charges in the past to residents in Maple Ridge.
The area where the bear was located has lots of connecting wooded areas adjacent to the Alouette River making it definite bear habitat, said Hunter.
He said the problem he faces is running into people who tell him they haven’t had a problem with bears in 25 years.
“Well, now you do and you didn’t do anything to prevent it,” he said.
And, he said, when someone finally does take bear prevention steps, the bear ends up down river and into somebody else’s backyard.
“So the problem doesn’t go away,” he said.
Hunter is asking anyone who spots the bear to call 1-877-952-7277.