The man who took a video Saturday showing a black bear swatting at a hiker on the Coquitlam Crunch is urging conservation officers not to destroy the animal if it ends up being trapped.
Sam Abdullah took out his phone capturing the moment a black bear approached a jogger on the upper part of the trail, stepping towards her and then tapping or swatting her leg before she managed to run to safety.
While conservation has said the bear’s fate hasn’t yet been decided, Abdullah fears the bear from the video will end up being destroyed if it’s caught.
“I think the decision has been made that they’re going to put down the bear. And that’s not fair,” Abdullah told reporters Monday. “I’m asking B.C. conservation officers to do the right thing.”
Abdullah believes the bear seen in the video may be getting mistaken for another bear that’s been reported to be getting into garbage in the area. He says he had posted the video in hopes of the city increasing signage about bears on the crunch.
But conservation says if a bear does get caught in the trap that was set up over the weekend, it will be checked carefully to make sure it’s the same adult bear from the video.
“This animal may not be suitable for relocation, we’re not sure at this point in time. We will reassess if and when we do catch an animal,” Austin Lord with the BC Conservation Officer Service said Sunday.
One of the reasons conservation isn’t sure about the bear’s future, is because it didn’t appear to show fear towards the jogger.
“That bear behaviour is very unusual,” Austin Lord with the BC Conservation Officer Service said Sunday. “We believe this bear that’s been habituated by people, may have gotten food rewards from people in the past. It may have walked up to that person and thought possibly it could get a food reward, and then gave this person a little shove.”
Conservation returned to check the trap Monday but the bear wasn’t inside.
Lord suggests people carry bear spray and back away slowly if confronted.
Hikers on the Coquitlam Crunch say they are used to seeing bears in the area, but they usually manage to co-exist safely.
“We know that there are bears in the area from time to time, so we just need to remember just from seeing that video that they are in this area and we need to be aware of that,” said Coquitlam resident Eduardo Herrera who hikes the crunch almost every day. “Just to be extra careful.”
“This is the time for them to be around, we’re in their area,” Herrera added, noting he saw a bear near some berry bushes along the trail just a few weeks ago.
The jogger from Saturday’s video did not stop to speak with witnesses, but she did not appear to be injured.
The upper portion of the Coquitlam Crunch remains closed at Panorama Drive.