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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

No new COVID-19 cases for the first time in weeks: Interior Health

Hospitalization also down to zero across the region

Chase RCMP seek information for decade-long missing person investigation

Shayne Murray Robinson’s truck was found abandoned by the Barriere RCMP detachment in 2010

Clearwater and Barriere welcome new reverend

Clearwater and Barriere have a new reverend, Bruce Chalmers, who will do… Continue reading

District of Barriere Utilities Manager reports to council on Barriere wells

District of Barriere Utilities Manager Ian Crosson presented a verbal report during… Continue reading

Alberta to require masks at schools this fall, but still no mandate in B.C.

B.C. students are also set to return to classrooms in September

30% of British Columbians would ‘wait and see’ before taking COVID vaccine: poll

Some are concerned about side effects, while others don’t think the virus is a big deal

Don’t leave your hand sanitizer in the sun and other tips to stay COVID safe this summer

Being mindful of staying outside and keeping hand sanitizer, sunscreen out of the sun recommended

What exactly is ‘old growth’ B.C. forest, and how much is protected?

Forests minister Doug Donaldson doesn’t support ‘moratorium’

Canadians can travel to Hawaii in September; no quarantine with negative COVID test

Travellers will be required to pay for their own tests prior to arriving

Anonymous letters tell Vancouver Island family their kids are too loud

Letter said the noise of kids playing in Parksville backyard is ‘unbearable’

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Most Read