The Conservation Officer Service issued the following statement regarding last week’s story of a dog killed by a black bear:
On Wednesday June 6th Terrace Conservation officer Dale Kluivers responded to the bear occurrence. CO Kluivers interviewed the complainant and subsequently set a culvert trap.
The interview with the complainant revealed that their reaction might have triggered a predator-prey response by the bear. The bear pursued the horses and dog when they started to run away.
The COS reminds the public if they encounter a bear to remain calm, make oneself as big as possible and if in a group to stay together, face the bear and back away slowly. Never look a bear straight in the eyes as the bear can interpret this as a sign of aggression. Of course in this incident the individuals involved were on horseback and could not have backed away easily.
When traveling in bear habitat with a dog, it is advised to keep your pet on a leash. In the past, off-leash dogs chased by bears have led bears to pet owners. As well, make your presence known by talking loudly and/or clapping your hands, blowing a whistle, etc.
Had the women taken the necessary precautions and reacted in a manner as advised above, the bear might have simply turned and disappeared.
Conservation officers conducted three separate searches for the dog and the offending bear. During the searches, the officers did not find the dog or the bear. However, they did identify that there were several bears in the immediate area and that the chance of catching a non- target bear was high. Therefore, the decision was made to remove the culvert trap on Friday June 8th.