A bear that was shot and wounded last Friday by a conservation officer in Maple Ridge has not been seen since, and is presumed dead.
Sgt. Todd Hunter of the Conservation Officer Service said a trap was set for the bear in the area of 129th Ave, near one of the properties it had been visiting, out of an abundance of caution. It had been tangling with a dog and trying to get into buildings.
“We have no concern or reports that it has been sighted since (the shooting)” said Hunter.
The trap was to be removed Friday, from it’s location near 129th Avenue and 224th Street.
He noted a property on 129th Avenue was attracting the bear, and the owner had agreed to install electric fencing. It was to be installed last Saturday, and the bear returned and was shot on Friday. The electric fencing has since been installed.
Hunter heard hearsay reports about someone discharging a firearm at a bear in the area on Wednesday. He warned that there are provisions in the Wildlife Act to allow people to protect themselves, but there are limitations. The shooting must be reported, and conservation officers will investigate. The shooter could face charges.
He said there a risk to the public in discharging a firearm near residences, and a risk to people even if the bear is hit.
“Even a well-placed shot doesn’t mean it is going to succumb and drop right there. They are hardy,” he said. “Call the authorities.”
He said the area around 129th is “a heavily crittered area,” with bobcats, coyotes and other predators. He advised people living in the area who have livestock or chickens to get electric fencing, which is both a deterrent and cost effective.
WildSafe BC Community Coordinator Dan Mikolay is available to offer advice on how best to use electric fencing. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hunter said after a year in which bears have frequently been in the news, and in the cross hairs, he is still hearing disturbing reports. A busy year for wildlife conflicts that saw 14 bears shot in the city is hardly slowing down.
“We’ve got bears still running around, and people still leaving garbage out.”
He said bears hibernate when there is cold and deep snow, but in the Lower Mainland they go into a state of torpor that sees them rising to feed on occasion. So people need to remain vigilant about protecting bears from attractants.
He noted conservation officers and city bylaws went out for evening shifts on Dec. 9 and 10, and issued four $230 violation tickets for people attracting wildlife. They also issued six warnings.