Photo of bear walking with hikers sparks warnings from B.C. conservation officer

The bear was reported and put in the B.C. Conservation Officer Service database

B.C. conservation officers are reminding people to be alert and aware of nearby wildlife after a bear took a stroll along a busy trail in Coquitlam recently.

A photo taken on Aug. 3 by an unknown source shows a medium-sized bear walking up the steps of the Coquitlam Crunch trail behind a number of apparently oblivious fitness enthusiasts – some wearing headphones.

The photo, which has been shared several times online, has garnered plenty of attention with some mystified by how comfortable the bear appeared around so many people.

B.C. Conservation Officer Nicole Caithness told Black Press Media Thursday that officers received a couple of calls about a black bear in the area and are aware of the photo, but will not be investigating because there have been no reports of concerning behaviour – such as accessing garbage – nor injuries.

“It is very common to have bears in that area and on the Crunch itself, as there are a lot of black berry bushes along that trail, which is a key food source for bears in the mid to late summer,” Caithness said.

READ MORE: Campbell River man recuperating from harrowing grizzly bear attack

There have been 9,800 reported encounters and sightings of black bears this year, according to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service.

Caithness urged people to take necessary steps to ensure their safety when out along trails – even ones located within city limits.

READ MORE: Coquitlam mayor ‘heartbroken,’ but says not to ‘vilify’ COS after death of bear family

Precautions include not wearing headphones while running or hiking and making noise such as talking or whistling when moving around blind corners to not startle a bear that may be ahead.

“If a bear is encountered, people should never turn and run, and should remain calm and speak to the bear in a calm voice while backing away slowly, and give the bear the space it needs to move out of the area. Caithness said.

“One hundred metres is generally considered a safe distance to view wildlife from. People may need to re-route and be flexible in their hiking plans in order to give bears plenty of room.”

If a bear appears aggressive or threatening, call the RAPP hotline at 1-877-952-7277.

Each sighting is first weighed on a “decision matrix” that conservation officers use to determine whether the bear needs to be removed from the area or euthanized. But when such extremes are not necessary, each sighting is logged in a database that allows officers to track the various bears.

“We don’t know each bear individually, but we can start to build patterns of behavior for different animals based on their description,” Caithness said. If the bear starts to pose a risk to the public, or is showing risk of becoming habituated in the area, conservation officers will reassess the situation.

Two hundred and fifty bears have been euthanized this year.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

West Kelowna Light Up coming Friday night

Decorations and lights will take over the City of West Kelowna just in time for the holidays

Moral challenges still exist around euthanasia: UBC Okanagan study

A UBCO professor said nurses are conflicted with assisted deaths due to new end-of-life options

WATCH: Video shows Kelowna bylaw officers throwing away items belonging to homeless

The video, which was uploaded to Facebook on Dec. 4, has drawn the ire of many local residents

Kelowna man loses appeal claiming he was too drunk to murder his roommate

Daniel Ruff will remain behind bars and is ineligible for parole until 2027

Supportive housing complex for women and seniors’ home approved in Glenmore area

32 townhouses for women fleeing violence and a 162-unit seniors home are planned for the site

VIDEO: Rockslide closes Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Trailer fire in North Okanagan claims cat

BX-Swan Lake Fire Department currently on scene

Province gives $4.93M boost to school-based gang prevention program

The funding will see the ‘Erase’ program expand from 12 to 16 communities

Half of shoppers say they have no holiday spending budget

B.C. consumers surveyed estimate they will spend $921 this season

Grandparents raising children: Salmon Arm grandma sees need for support

Peer group formed for those who have unexpectedly taken on the role of parenting

Man sentenced in Salmon Arm to one year in jail for luring adolescent girls

Offence took place online, sentence conditions include restrictions on contact with people under 16

COLUMN: Light holiday movies, filmed here in B.C.

How is it possible to come up with so many holiday-themed movie scripts each year?

Most Read