British Columbia

Search underway for bear that followed hiker in North Shore park

Officials are warning trail users in Capilano River Regional Park to be cautious after a bear followed a man on Vancouver's North Shore on Monday morning.

Bear still in the area of Capilano River Regional Park and officials warning public to be cautious

Officials are warning hikers to stay out of Capilano River Park after a bear followed a man. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

Officials are warning trail users in a popular park on Vancouver's North Shore to be cautious after a bear encounter on Monday morning.

Police were called to Capilano River Regional Park at 9:30 a.m. PT following reports of a man screaming, said West Vancouver Const. Jeff Palmer. 

The 35-year-old hiker thought he had come across a large dog initially, Palmer said, but then realized it was a bear.

"He tried to make loud noises to shoo the bear away. The bear didn't respond to that and he felt the bear was coming close to him and wasn't afraid of him," Palmer.

Officials are looking for the bear that followed the hiker. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

"The bear seemed to follow him and the gentleman began to run away."

Hiker injured while running away

At some point while he ran, the man fell and got some minor scrapes, Palmer added.

Initial reports described this bear encounter as an attack, but Palmer says the hiker was not injured by the bear.

"He came into close proximity with the bear but he wasn't hit or hurt by the bear's claws."

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service will set a trap for the bear, according to Conservation officer Jack Trudgian.

"We're not at this time sure what we're going to do with the bear," said Trudgian. "We need to look at the history of bears in this area, see if this bear has done this before. So, it's really just to do some research and to find out what the history of this bear is."

While area trails were briefly closed, people are now allowed back into the woods, but Trudgian warns trail users to be cautious.

"If you see a wild animal, you don't want to run away, because that can cause a reaction for that bear to chase you," he said.

Paul Ward, the West Vancouver District supervisor for roads, said three people reported an aggressive bear sighting earlier that day in the area. 

Bear encounters common this time of year

This weekend, a 10-year-old girl was attacked by a female black bear with a cub in Coquitlam.  

Officers killed its mother on Saturday after the animal bit and dragged the victim near a popular hiking trail at Shaughnessy Street and Lincoln Avenue where the trail along the Coquitlam River leads to a wilderness area.

The cub was tranquillized and taken to a rehabilitation centre.

Trudgian noted that Monday was garbage day in the West Vancouver neighbourhood around Capilano River Regional Park. He asked the public to do what it can to reduce the risk of attracting bears, like only putting garbage out in the morning.

"Garbage day does cause a lot of bears to come out and onto the streets and get into the garbage," he said. "If you can, any of the food that smells, like chicken bones, or anything like that, try to freeze it, and then take it out of the freezer in the morning and put it into the garbage can."