An aggressive black bear, wounded from a gunshot, was hunted by conservation officers and tracking dogs through a popular Port Coquitlam park at dawn Friday before being shot again and killed.
Officers say the bear may have been the same one found rummaging through an empty baby stroller in Lions Park on Monday, though it’s difficult to know for certain.
Inspector Chris Doyle said the B.C. Conservation Officer Service was called to Gates Park around 7 p.m. Thursday after two people reported close encounters with the bear.
When officers arrived at the park, which is surrounded by houses and industrial areas, they found the bear behind a townhouse complex, rummaging through a dumpster.
The bear lunged at one of the officers and got a few feet away from him before he fired a bullet into the animal. Despite being wounded, the bear managed to escape.
Officers combed the park looking for the bear until it got too dark and they had to pause the search. They returned around 5 a.m. Friday with tracking dogs.
The search team found the bear around 7 a.m. and fired four shots into the animal, killing it.
The bear had to be put down because it had been deemed a threat to the public, he added.
Conservation officials are reminding people in the Tri-Cities area not to leave their garbage outside.
“Unfortunately there are a lot of issues with bears in that area, and a lot of them are human caused and preventable,” said Insp. Doyle.
In most cases, bears are lured by garbage that has been left out instead of being locked up in bear-resistant containers or kept inside a building as recommended.
“We need the community as a whole to be utilizing those types of measures,” Insp. Doyle said.
There have been reports of bear encounters in the area, which includes Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody, for decades, said Insp. Doyle.
Now that the bear has been taken care of, the conservation service is shifting its focus to educating the public and enforcing the province’s Wildlife Act.
“We just need people to really get engaged and do what they can to prevent the bear conflicts that are human caused,” said Insp. Doyle.