UPDATED (6:13 p.m.):
The B.C. Conservation Officer Service says an aggressive black bear that attacked people having a picnic on Burnaby Mountain has been shot dead.
The attack did not leave anyone with serious injuries, but a woman did get scratched by the bear, which conservation officer Kent Popjes said is concerning — it meant the bear had lost its fear of humans and was willing to approach when it smells food.
A trap was set up near Horizons restaurant on Burnaby Mountain, and three COs stayed on scene during daylight hours.
“We’re asking the public to report any bear sightings in the area so we can monitor it and action anything we see,” Popjes said earlier in the day.
Popjes was also asking people to avoid the area if possible.
Popjes said it’s not uncommon to see the occasional bear, with all of the bush around Burnaby Mountain.
“There’s no reason that there won’t be bears here. It’s just a matter that we do our part to keep them wild, which means we need to secure attractants, keep our garbage contained. And if you are hiking in the area, keep your food with you and do your best not to let a bear get ahold of it,” he said.
“Walk away slowly from wildlife; always face it.”
This was the 19th bear put down this year in Popjes’s region, which includes Vancouver, Burnaby and the North Shore up to Pemberton. That’s about double the number of bears destroyed the year prior and more than normal, Popjes said.
“Any bear that’s put down, that’s too many for anybody. But obviously we do have a lot of challenges here with attractants and with the food conditioning that we do see with our bears, and we don’t have any options at some times with the level of public risk,” he said.
Popjes said it’s too much area to cover to walk all of the trails, so officers are asking anyone who sees bears to report them to the conservation service at 1-877-952-RAPP (7277).
Burnaby RCMP and Conservation officers say they still are tracking an “aggressive” black bear on Burnaby Mountain as of 8 a.m. on Tuesday morning, with traps being set.
Hikers are being warned to stay away from the mountain's trails.
They say the bruin challenged a group of picnickers Monday on Burnaby Mountain and then lunged at a woman trying to shoo the bear away from several backpacks.
The woman ended up with a scratch on her calf and conservation officers say the encounter shows the bear has lost its fear of humans.
It will likely be destroyed if it is captured.
The search is focused on several popular hiking trails around Burnaby Mountain, including the Trans Canada Trail.
The B.C. Conservation Officer Service says 15 bears have been destroyed in Metro Vancouver this year after becoming habituated to human food, meaning they could not be safely captured and relocated.
“We have received a report of an aggressive black bear on Burnaby Mountain and are currently working along with @_BCCOSto locate the bear and determine next steps," Burnaby RCMP tweeted. Expect to see a police presence in the area of the Trans Canada Trail, Ridgeview, Burnwood and Gnome's Home trail,” read the tweet.“Be vigilant if using any trails on Burnaby mountain and if you see a black bear in the area of Trans Canada, Ridgeview, Burnwood or Gnome's Home trail. please contact police immediately.”
- with files from The Canadian Press, CKNW