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Conservation officers rescue bear from leg-hold trap along popular Coquitlam trail

The bear was tranquilized and moved to a wilderness location away from the city.
Earth Day bear 2
A bear ensnared with a leg-hold trap on its paw was captured in Coquitlam by conservation officers on Tuesday.

A bear caught in a leg-hold trap was captured by conservation officers Tuesday, April 30, in Coquitlam.

A spokesperson for the Conservation Officer Service (COS) confirms officers responded to a report of the bear with a trap on its paw near the Pitt River Boat Club at the end of Lincoln Avenue.

The bear was tranquilized and freed from the trap by COS officers. They examined the animal for injuries and determined it was in good condition.

The bear was then relocated to a wilderness area away from the city.

A cyclist who contacted the Tri-City News said the section of the Traboulay PoCo Trail near the boat club was blocked by RCMP officers during the search for the bear. They said they spotted a mother bear and cubs while riding in the same area on Sunday, April 28.

Leg-hold traps are legal across Canada — as long as they don’t have toothed jaws. But their use has been banned in several municipalities across British Columbia.

In Coquitlam, the traps have been banned since 1979 unless set by someone from the B.C. Fish and Wildlife Branch or a city employee for official use. Violators can be fined up to $500.

The animal rights advocacy group, The Fur Bearers, said leg-hold traps immobilize the animal, preventing them from eating, drinking, caring for their young, fending off predators or retreating to shelter.

“In their distress and panic, some animals become so desperate to escape that they resort to chewing or wringing off their trapped limbs, breaking their teeth and bones in the process,” said a statement on its website, adding ensnared animals often die from exhaustion, blood loss, dehydration or hypothermia.