A late-night crash Saturday sent a motorcyclist to hospital and killed a mother bear, leaving two of her juvenile cubs to fend for themselves.
The collision occurred on 248th Street in Maple Ridge, near 123rd Avenue, where the motorcyclist hit the bear just before midnight.
“The bear died shortly after impact,” said conservation officer Todd Hunter, who was on scene.
“Hopefully, the operator’s doing OK. On a motorcycle, that’s a big tumble.”
The bear was on the road in an area, which according to neighbours, is a popular crossing point for wildlife.
The mother bear was with her two offspring from last year.
“They were in tow. “They were a family unit still.”
In a few weeks, those juveniles would have likely ended up on their own so the mother could have more cubs.
Hunter said that after the mother was taken away, the cubs “hung around a bit and I had to push them off.”
During the early spring, as bears emerge from hibernation, food isn’t as plentiful, leaving bears to chew on grass and skunk cabbage. That’s why it’s important for homeowners not leave their garbage out.
The City of Maple Ridge is attempting to be recognized this year as a Bear Smart Community by the provincial government after taking several steps to limit human-bear conflicts, such as requiring people to wait until pickup day before putting out garbage, as well as education programs.
Hunter is looking forward to that and said efforts being taken are already reducing the number of bear interactions.
“We haven’t had a lot of conflicts this year.”
In 2015, five bears were shot because they were getting too close to people. That’s down from previous years, when up to 30 bears were shot during a year.