A man is licking his wounds after allegedly colliding with a black bear in Coquitlam River Park Tuesday evening.
The encounter occurred at about 6 p.m. on the Port Coquitlam side of the park near the river, according to conservation officers.
A couple living in a tent about 20 metres from the river had come into contact with the bear several times over the previous two days as it searched out food stored at their campsite.
When the bear claimed food from beside the tent Tuesday, pulling it into the forest, the man pursued the bruin, according to Insp. Murray Smith of the Conservation Officer Services. That’s when the bear charged at the man, bulling him over before disappearing into the forest. The man was bruised and sore from the fall, and may have been concussed, according to Smith.
Conversation officers arrived at around 7:30 p.m. set bear traps around the area, which has now been marked off with police tape. New signs have also been put up warning that there is a bear in the area.
By Wednesday morning, conservation officers still hadn’t located the bear, something Smith says is not surprising given the cool, dreary weather.
“Bears activity tends to slow down in this kind of weather,” he said.
The bear's alleged aggressive behaviour combined with the fact that that it hung around the campsite for a couple of days and that it has become accustomed to human food all mean the bruin is a problem. That means if conservation officers find it, “It would be euthanized.”
But Coquitlam RCMP's spokesperson Cpl. Michael McLaughlin said police were not able to confirm that the encounter with the bear even happened.
Not long before the bear call came in, the couple had been told they would have to move their encampment, said McLaughlin.
“After speaking to the people who were allegedly attacked, we found nothing to substantiate the attack,” said McLaughlin. “I’m not sure what happened here. We went to confirm that story and we couldn’t."
Coquitlam RCMP did confirm that there are bears and human attractants in the area, and support the conservation officers' decision to cordon off that area of the park.
Due to a bear sighting and attractants in Coquitlam River Park yesterday, the BC Conservation Service has set a live bear trap and nearby trails have been closed. Food & garbage was an attractant for the bear. For details on how to be bear smart, visit https://t.co/Et6GxZy6YE pic.twitter.com/OgiyWsG1Pb— City of Coquitlam (@cityofcoquitlam) July 17, 2019
This is not the first time someone has been attacked by a bear in the large park that stretches on both sides of the Coquitlam and is shared by both Port Coquitlam and Coquitlam.
In August, 2016, a 10-year-old girl was mauled in the park while visiting with her family. She recovered but Coquitlam bylaw officers subsequently found unsecured garbage at a large number of homes in the Shaughnessy Street/Rivers Springs neighbourhoods and handed out $500 fines to numerous homeowners.