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

Victoria byelection tentatively scheduled for April 4

The byelection will replace former Coun. Laurel Collins

Hazardous black ice coats Greater Victoria streets

Drivers, cyclists, pedestrians warned to be cautious

Saanich councillor feels new Walmart at Hillside a step in the wrong direction

‘We’ll all fail our climate goals if we don’t make radical changes to land use,’ says the councillor

Crystal pool advocates hold mixed feelings as Victoria explores previously studied sites

Local neighbourhood associations, swimming advocates vote for different locations

Fashion Fridays: Look your best this year

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

POLL: Has the recent snow had an impact on your daily life?

Old Man Winter had Greater Victoria in his icy grip this week.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 14

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Oil and gas industry applauds Supreme Court’s dismissal of B.C. TMX case

The high court’s ruling Thursday removes one of the remaining obstacles for the project

Airliner crash a mistake that pleased Iran’s enemies: Supreme Leader Khamenei

Iran’s supreme leader says dowining of Flight 752 was a bitter accident in rare sermon

Sub-zero B.C. weather freezes clothing in just 45 minutes

A local photographer decided to have some fun with the frosty weather before its gone

VIDEO: Missing cat reunited with Vancouver Island family after three months

‘It was like one day she was there, the next day she was gone,’ said owner

Most Read