Problem bear will be hunted, killed

Attacked a pygmy goat in east Maple Ridge

Mitch McCrea with his dead goat

Mitch McCrea with his dead goat

The bruin sauntered onto Mitch McCrea’s 287th Street property around 9:30 p.m., fearlessly and unfazed by a barking Rottweiler, thrown rocks and blasts from a loud air horn.

“We’ve been here 16 years and never had one attack one of our animals,” says McCrea.

The bear scaled a sturdy wire fence, sniffed around garbage bins on a trailer, turned down rabbits in their hutches and two miniature horses before attacking Billy, a pygmy goat.

The bear tried to pull Billy over the fence, but was unsuccessful, managing only to gnaw a front leg before leaving.

Because the bear attacked another animal, it will be euthanized when captured.

It will be the first bear killed in Maple Ridge this year.

“A bear like this is declared as predatory,” said conservation officer James Kelly.

He’s set up a trap at the site and hopes it will catch the bear, who has lost its fear of humans.

Bear sightings are up across the region as bears leave their dens in search of food.

In the mountains, they’ll be looking for new green shoots, insects and carrion from winter kill, but if food is difficult to find, they may be tempted enter urban areas.

And if they become habituated to human food and get used to being around people, they often meet their demise.

Kelly said officers will also be advising the property owner to protect livestock with an electric fence and remove attractants such as garbage.

“A bear is opportunistic. It’s going to look for the easiest meal that requires the least amount of energy,” he added.

“When it comes across a pen that doesn’t have an electric fence, it’s a little easier than trying to forage for bugs all day.”

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.

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