Extreme bear activity prompts trail closures, warning in North Vancouver

\Extreme\ bear activity prompts trail closures, warning in North Vancouver
Public warning issued after bear chases jogger on North Vancouver park trail (VIDEO)
Two trails in the Lynn Headwaters Regional Park in North Vancouver were closed for several hours Thursday morning, as conservation officers tried to track down an aggressive black bear. 

Officers believe the same bear that attacked and killed a small dog last week also relentlessly chased a jogger Thursday morning. 

Gravel acknowledged it is difficult to assess why this particular bear, which is smaller than the average black bear and does not have cubs, has become this aggressive toward humans. In general, people who feed bears or leave food accessible to bears contribute to this kind of behaviour, he said.

Provincial conservation officer Sgt. Simon Gravel says the jogger did everything right, but the bear would not back down.

Gravel acknowledged it is difficult to assess why this particular bear, which is smaller than the average black bear and does not have cubs, has become this aggressive toward humans. In general, people who feed bears or leave food accessible to bears contribute to this kind of behaviour, he said.

"She tried to make herself look big, threw some rocks at the bear, but the bear did not step down and kept following her until she managed to find some safe location in a building," he said. 

He said while it's not unusual to spot a bear near Rice Lake, which is located east of the regional park, the bear's behaviour is troubling. 

“With fall approaching, we want to remind the public that bears will be hungry, they are trying to pack on as many calories as possible before going into hibernation this fall,” said Chris Doyle, deputy chief at the B.C. Conservation Officer Service.

"We are obviously dealing with a bear that has returned aggressive behaviour toward people," he said. 

The plan is to reopen the park once Metro Vancouver staff have put up more signage in the park warning visitors about the recent level of bear activity. People are reminded to carry bear spray and keep their dogs on a leash.

Officials closed the Varley and Connector trails for several hours and issued a bear alert for Lynn Loop Trail, while officers set up a trap to catch the healthy adult bear. 

The plan is to reopen the park once Metro Vancouver staff have put up more signage in the park warning visitors about the recent level of bear activity. People are reminded to carry bear spray and keep their dogs on a leash.

Visitors are being asked to avoid the area or, if they're in the area, to be extremely careful. 

Authorities believe this is the same bear that killed a dog in the same park last week, conservation officer Sgt. Simon Gravel said in an interview. The plan is to euthanize the bear once it is caught, he added.

"Important message is to use caution if you use the area, carry bear spray, don't travel alone and please keep your dog on leash," said Gravel. 

Gravel wants to remind people not to approach bears, to try and take pictures with them or to feed them. 

Because the bear escalated its aggression from dogs to humans, authorities have decided to set a trap for the bear and euthanize the animal, he said.

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Because the bear escalated its aggression from dogs to humans, authorities have decided to set a trap for the bear and euthanize the animal, he said.

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Conservation officers are warning the public about an aggressive bear in Lynn Headwaters Regional Park after a jogger was chased by the bear while out for a run Thursday morning in North Vancouver.

“She was well educated and knew what to do, but unfortunately the bear kept following her and was very concerning behaviour.”

The latest incident comes after almost a week of other more minor incidents involving the bear chasing dogs and following some runners and hikers in the park and Lower Lynn Conservation Area on an almost daily basis, said Conservation Officer Simon Gravel.

VANCOUVER—Officials are on the hunt for a black bear that chased after a jogger in Lynn Headwaters Regional Park Thursday morning.

Conservation officers said the bear is the same animal that bit and killed a dachshund on the Lynn Loop hiking trail Aug. 17.

VANCOUVER—Officials are on the hunt for a black bear that chased after a jogger in Lynn Headwaters Regional Park Thursday morning.

Gravel said when the jogger realized she was being followed, she stopped running, tried to make herself look big and threw rocks at the bear. But the bear wasnt deterred. The woman was eventually able to get to the gatehouse leading into the park and seek help from the park rangers.

“A bear like this, that shows signs of habituation to humans and food condition is a high level of public safety risk.”

Trails including the Varley Trail and the Connector Trail in Lynn Headwaters were closed for part of Thursday but later reopened, after signs were posted warning the public about the aggressive bear.

“A bear like this, that shows signs of habituation to humans and food condition is a high level of public safety risk.”

The level of aggression displayed by the bear towards humans means conservation officers will have to destroy the bear, he said.

Gravel said the bears behaviour indicates that it has become habituated to being around humans and likely views them as food sources. The bear could have been conditioned by everything from being fed by people deliberately to accessing food in backpacks, or other human sources of food, he said.

While conservation officers attempt to trap the bear, they are warning the public to avoid the area if they can or alternatively, to carry bear spray, not to have dogs off leash and to hike in a group if possible.

Gravel said as summer segues into fall, the level of bear activity usually goes up on the North Shore, as bears bulk up prior to winter hibernation. Its especially important to keep attractants like bird feeders and garbage under lockdown and pick ripe fruit promptly, he said.