Coquitlam man injured after black bear wanders into his garage

Sep 24 2018, 9:26 pm

A Coquitlam resident had a too-close-for-comfort encounter with a black bear this weekend, after it wandered into his garage.

According to BC Conservation Officer (COS) Dean Miller, the incident took place around 1 am Sunday morning, when the resident was working on his car and “had his garage door open…and a black bear entered the garage.”

The bear knocked the man over with what Miller speculated was “an intent to get at the guy’s properly-stored garbage.”

Miller told Daily Hive that in response, the resident threw two items at the bear and one of them was “heavy enough that it scared the bear off.”

In light of this incident, Miller said the COS is “doing all we can and we’ve responded by setting two traps – one on the actual street where the incident occurred and then one that’s very close by.”

In addition, COS officers have been canvassing the neighbourhood to get a bit more of a background information on the bear and how often it comes to the neighbourhood.

“We had a crew out early – at first light today,” he noted.

Miller said that with fall now in full swing, “we’re in a period where bears – especially conflict bears – may be increasing their behaviours, so we’re going to keep these traps fishing for a fair bit of time.”

Officers will also be conducting roaming patrols “pretty much every morning.”

While human-bear encounters can potentially be deadly, Miller said in this instance, that doesn’t appear to the case. It appears the bear was just trying to get to what it believed to be a food source.

“None of the bear’s moves seemed predatory,” said Miller, noting that there was nothing to suggest the bear was intent on injuring the individual. “It was more in the category of just getting the person out of the way, and making enough contact with him to enable that.”

The man did suffer minor injuries but ultimately escaped the incident without any lacerations, “claw or teeth marks,” and the need for hospitalization.

And it’s for this reason Miller believes the attack was non-predatory. Still, residents should be aware of the risk.

“Bears learn behaviour and whenever they get success doing something, they’ll repeat that behaviour or escalate it,” he explained. “Our interest in finding this bear is fairly high, just to avoid potential risk for the next person.

Miller also stressed that the resident did nothing wrong.

“He was very Bear Smart and had no attractants outside his home.”

That said, “he did have his garage door open, so we’re asking residents to keep their doors closed. The bear’s behaviour, in this case, is likely due to the carelessness of other residents in the area.”

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