Conservation officers who responded to the grizzly bear attack on Grant Road in the Bella Coola Valley earlier this week have determined the incident was a defensive one by a sow grizzly with cubs.
COS Sgt. Jeff Tyre said the victim is in stable condition in hospital in Vancouver and is expected to return home soon. Tyre wouldn’t release any further details about the incident.
The grizzly and her cubs have not returned to the area where the conflict occurred. However, officers will continue to closely monitor that situation. They have captured images on trail cameras of several other bears feeding on the many cherry trees in the area.
In the meantime, Tyre said there is much to be done in the valley to reduce human/wildlife conflict by having residents better manage their bear attractants.
Tyre said the officers do not want to be heavy-handed with the public, and would rather work to create better awareness around to need to reduce human food sources for bears.
They did, however, issue a dangerous wildlife protection order to the property owner where the bear attack occurred. That order will see the removal of some fruit trees and gleaning of ripe fruit.
“We going to remove that fruit and hopefully make it a safer situation there with humans again,” Tyre said, noting much more needs to be done.
“It’s going to take a change in mentality. We are being told that there are more bears in the valley. It’s becoming less socially acceptable to kill bears and we want to be able to co-exist with the bears and that’s going to take a change in the thoughts of a lot of people. We can’t have one person holding back the progress and creating habituated and food-conditioned bears that will affect the rest of the community.”
Sheldon Tallio, community coordinator for WildSafe BC in the valley, said everyone in the valley is responsible to remove bear attractants and avoid conflicts like the one this week.
“We need to work together,” Tallio said.