Port Alberni conservation officer Andrew Riddell said part of being a Bear Smart community is educating people about bear smart practices. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Port Alberni conservation officer Andrew Riddell said part of being a Bear Smart community is educating people about bear smart practices. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Bear hunt on after man knocked down in Port Alberni residential backyard

Traps set after family posted about bear knocking man to the ground and swatting his leg

Conservations officers in Port Alberni are on the hunt for a bear that allegedly attacked a man in a residential area on Tuesday.

A woman posted on a local Facebook page early on Nov. 20 that a bear had pushed her father to the ground in their yard and swatted his leg, cutting him and leaving holes in his pantleg. She said a fence had been removed between their yard and another, giving the bear access to their home near the Paramount Theatre on Argyle Street.

Conservation officer Andrew Riddell said no one had contacted the conservation office about the incident. “The only reason we know this attack occurred was from the Facebook post,” he said. He urged people to call the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) Line at 1-877-952-RAPP (7277) right away for any wildlife-human conflicts, such as this bear attack.

Two conservation officers and a City of Port Alberni bylaw enforcement officer were patrolling the neighbourhoods from Sixth Avenue to Ninth Avenue between Argyle Street and Dunbar Street Tuesday afternoon.

“The bears that are in town have been accessing garbage for so long…they are starting to get aggressive and bluff charge people,” Riddell said, standing in front of a house where a garbage can had been knocked over and rifled through.

“We’ve already got one trap set and perhaps we can set another one,” he said. The first trap was set last week in an alley a few blocks away from the Nov. 20 incident.

Jennifer McKean, who lives near the alley where the trap is located, said she has seen two different bears in the area “at least 10 times in the last two weeks.” She estimates one bear to be around 450 pounds, and another in the 200-pound range.

“This is the worst year I’ve ever seen,” she said. She pointed out two neighbours’ fences a bear had broken, a low roof another has climbed and several piles of bear feces along the alley.

“I watched him break down a fence. I was coming home at 3 a.m. and forgot my keys. He was in my yard and stood up and growled at me,” she said.

”I walked up the first step (of her back porch) thinking there’s not going to be a bear today. The bear came towards me and growled. It was only 10 feet in front of me, so I ended up throwing my purse at it and running up the road and spending the night at my girlfriend’s house that night.”

She said the bear comes by the area every single day—including the day the trap was set, when he sniffed around the bait at the back end of the trap before walking away.

The trap is in the same neighbourhood where another man posted on social media last week that he had a bear sleeping under his porch, but said he was told after calling a conservation office “just don’t leave your house.”

Riddell said bears will find somewhere to sleep, and they do find bears under peoples’ porches on occasion. Last year there was a home near Harbour Quay where they had to remove a bear.

“It certainly happens. At this time of year bears are going to try and find a place to take a rest.”

He said he wasn’t familiar with the specific case of the man who was told not to leave his house; he said people should still call the RAPP Line. “We’ll certainly respond.”

He also said people who have had bears sleeping under their porch should immediately close up access once the bear is gone to discourage it from returning.

Riddell said conservation officers work with the RCMP and City of Port Alberni bylaw enforcement officers to watch for signs of bear activity.

Nathan Bourelle, a bylaw enforcement officer who is new to city staff, said the bylaw office tries to minimize bear-to-human contact “as much as we can.” The city has a solid waste disposal bylaw that dictates how people should store their garbage bins through using bear-resistant garbage cans and heavy-duty clips to keep the lids secured, or storing cans securely.

“You have to put some sort of effort into preventing a bear from getting into your garbage,” he said.

“There are bears that frequent Port Alberni,” Riddell said. “We try and manage the people as well as manage the bears.”

Where garbage is available, bears will be too. “They eventually learn garbage days.”

Bears that are habituated to garbage cannot be relocated either, he said.

editor@albernivalleynews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Port Alberni conservation officer Andrew Riddell, left, and City of Port Alberni bylaw enforcement officer Nathan Bourelle both work in a neighbourhood near Gyro Recreation Park where a resident said a bear attacked a family member on Nov. 20, 2018. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Port Alberni conservation officer Andrew Riddell, left, and City of Port Alberni bylaw enforcement officer Nathan Bourelle both work in a neighbourhood near Gyro Recreation Park where a resident said a bear attacked a family member on Nov. 20, 2018. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Part of the City of Port Alberni’s solid waste disposal bylaw dictates that residents must keep their garbage secure, says bylaw enforcement officer Nathan Bourelle. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Part of the City of Port Alberni’s solid waste disposal bylaw dictates that residents must keep their garbage secure, says bylaw enforcement officer Nathan Bourelle. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Just Posted

The exterior of infamous Port Hardy apartment building Highland Manor. (Zoe Ducklow photo)
Draft rental standards bylaw a hot topic at District of Port Hardy meeting

Mayor Dennis Dugas wants the bylaw to pass so they can “protect the people.”

North Island Gazette file photo of Port McNeill council
Port McNeill council roundup: SD85, tourism and zoning discussed

More news from Port McNeill’s April 13 council meeting.

B.C. Centre for Disease Control maps showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 4-10. (BCCDC image)
Parksville-Qualicum passes Nanaimo in new COVID-19 cases

Greater Victoria had more new cases than any other Island area: B.C. Centre for Disease Control

The Port McNeill waterfront on a beautiful sunny day. (Bill McQuarrie photo)
Waterfront Playground Proposal receives backing from Port McNeill council

In favour of the motion were Wickstrom, Baron and Coun. Shelley Downey.

Quatse, the abandoned sea otter pup who was rescued in Port Hardy. (Marine Mammal Rescue Centre photo)
Quatse the sea otter pup continues to recover in treatment

Quatse’s last “pupdate” was on March 31, where it was noted she is “doing well and gaining weight.”

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

For Leela Harrop, the recent death of her brother Raju Tiwari pushed her to sign up for the vaccine. Photo supplied
Island woman on fence about vaccine prompted by brother’s death

Leela Harrop of Comox says she did have issues with signing up online this past week

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

Premier John Horgan receives a dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at the pharmacy in James Bay Thrifty’s Foods in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. Premier John Horgan gets AstraZeneca shot, encourages others

27% of residents in B.C. have now been vaccinated against COVID-19

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

John Furlong, Own The Podium board chairman and former CEO of the Vancouver Olympics, addresses a Vancouver Board of Trade luncheon in Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday November 25, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
John Furlong presents 2030 Winter Games vision to Vancouver Board of Trade

Vancouver and Whistler would remain among host sites because of 2010 sport venues still operational

Most Read