Conservation officers shoot black bear that ate Christmas cake, poultry

Conservation officers say the bear was attempting to enter homes over the past several months, demonstrating that it had lost its fear of humans. (CTV)

People living in a rural Maple Ridge neighbourhood have reported a black bear that has a craving for poultry and Christmas rum cake.

Agneta Eikelenboom noticed two of the three cakes were swiped from a table inside her storage room earlier this week.

A trail of cake crumbs was found outside the home, but the culprit was nowhere to be seen.

The next day, she ensured the door was locked, but the animal still managed to get inside.

"A Christmas cake sprinkled with rum attracted a bear from afar," Eikelenboom told CTV News. "Unbelievable that an animal could shred a door to pieces – it was a solid door … We had assumed that if things were in the house, it would be safe, but that's not always the case."

A similar situation unfolded about three kilometres away.

Another bear, perhaps the same one, also destroyed some structures and helped itself to a buffet of chickens, turkeys and peacocks.

"It was actually ripping the doors and plywood sidings off of the coops and livestock enclosures, so it was really escalating beyond just ripping through some fencing to get to the chickens. It was damaging some well-constructed buildings," said Nicole Caithness, a conservation officer for the Fraser North zone.

Caithness said the same bear is being blamed for attempting to enter homes over the past several months, demonstrating that it had lost its fear of humans.

Officers set a trap on the poultry farm's property, but it did not capture the bear.

On Friday night, conservation officers were able to locate the bear and attempted to destroy it.

They confirm they shot the bear, but it fled. Due to darkness and heavy rain at the time, they weren't able to find it.

"I'm really upset thinking this bear is around here wounded," said resident Carmen McNee.

Officials suspect the bear may have died from its wounds.

Earlier this month, six bears were destroyed in Port Coquitlam after they showed signs that they had become habituated to unsecured garbage cans.

Conservation officers said bears should be hibernating this time of year, but their access to human food is keeping them from going into their dens.

"If the bears are accessing non-natural food – so that could be garbage, compost, and in this case, livestock – then it will delay going to bed for the winter," said Caithness.

Officials remind residents to secure their trash, no matter the season.