MISSION, B.C. – Two people have been injured by a bear that broke into a home in Mission, B.C.
Murray Smith with the provincial Conservation Officer Service says a Mission resident heard a commotion in her backyard late Saturday night and went to check on her dogs.
He says when she opened the back door, the woman was met by a black bear, which knocked her down, bit her in the back and scratched her.
The woman’s boyfriend came and scared the animal back outside, and the woman was taken to hospital where she was treated for superficial injuries.
Smith says conservation officers later found the female bear and her two 34-kilogram cubs in a tree behind the home, and when an officer approached, the female bear attacked, biting the conservation officer on the leg.
The officer was taken to hospital where she received stitches, and all three of the bears were destroyed.
“The reason that decision was made was because all the residents in the neighbourhood said the bears had been in their yards multiple times in the last few days,” Smith said.
Neighbours reported seeing the bears eat from fruit trees in the area and get into garbage pails and the behaviour suggests the animals were “human habituated,” he added.
“Normally when a person opens their back door, the bear runs away,” Smith said. “When a bear decides to challenge and come into a house, that means they’ve been around people quite a bit.”
Mid-October is a particularly difficult time of year for encounters between bears and humans, Smith said, because the animals are trying to fatten up before they go into hibernation.
“They’re in a mad search for food and there’s food out there, so we’ve got to make sure we’re not attracting them to our neighbourhood.”
Conservation officers were back in the neighbourhood Sunday, speaking to residents about the importance of keeping attractants like garbage locked away where bears can’t reach.
Smith said there have been 245 calls about bears in Mission so far this year, but the female bear and her cubs were the first to be destroyed.
— By Gemma Karstens-Smith in Vancouver