British Columbia

Mother bear attacks B.C. man in Vancouver suburb

A mother black bear that was shot and killed after it attacked a man in the Metro Vancouver suburb of Anmore had been a fixture in the community, said the mayor.

Animal had become increasingly bold, local official says

A conservation officer tends to a bear cub, tranquillized after its mother was shot and killed near Anmore, B.C., on Monday. (CBC)

A mother black bear that was shot and killed after it attacked a man in the Metro Vancouver suburb of Anmore had been a fixture in the community, said the mayor.

But Heather Anderson said the mother bear had become more aggressive recently, and may have even tried to get into a freezer in a local garage.

Anderson saw the bear and her three cubs walk through her yard in the northern Vancouver suburb this past May.

"She's been in the village, throughout the village, quite extensively in the last probably two, three weeks, especially," said Anderson.

Anderson said she figures the mother bear was looking for food because salmon-berry season is over and blackberry season has yet to begin.

The attack took place just after 7 a.m. Monday in the small, suburban Vancouver community of Anmore, which is home to the popular recreation area of Buntzen Lake.

Clawed man's arm

Ken Hogue was out walking his dog near the entrance to Buntzen Lake when he spotted the mother bear and its three cubs, the RCMP said.

"As I come over the crest of the hill, the mother bear turned around and saw myself and my dog so she made a beeline straight for us, so I dove down a small embankment just off the road there but she was on us like in a matter of seconds," Hogue said.

"It sort of nudged my dog ... and then it came right at me ... the mother bear was right on top of me and she clawed me on my right arm and just sort of stood over me, almost face to face. And so I was just waiting for her to sort of finish the job."

Hogue lay on the ground for several excruciating minutes, waiting for the bear's next move.

"Basically, I just waiting for her jaws to come down and sort of finish the job.… Basically, that's what was going through my mind: Is this how I'm going to end my life? Being killed by a bear?"

'Very fortunate'

When nothing happened, Hogue slowly looked up and saw the mother bear slowly walking away, glancing back at him every few seconds.

Hogue grabbed his dog and started moving slowly back up the embankment, when the dog escaped his arms — once again drawing the attention of the mother bear.

"Fortunately, my next door neighbour came by in his car and so I waved at him. I said, 'Help. I've been attacked by a bear,'" Hogue said.

The car was enough to scare the bear away, and Hogue's neighbour called 911.

He was taken to the hospital with just a few scratches on his arm and a deep gash on his head, where he struck a rock while scrambling to get away from the bear.

"I'm just glad that it didn't go any further or was any worse than what it is," Hogue said. "I believe I was very, very fortunate that no more damage was done."

The mother bear was shot and killed by conservation officers, stranding her three cubs in a tree in a trailer park near the entrance to Buntzen Lake.

The officers later shot tranquillizer darts into the cubs, which then fell from the trees.

If the animals are not old enough to fend for themselves after being relocated in the wild, the animals will be taken to a wildlife shelter.


With files from The Canadian Press