Bears and People

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Watching a bear from our boat (a safe distance away).

The other day I was driving up the road, coming back from a run at Minnekhada Park in Coquitlam, BC when I saw what I thought was a man in black standing in the middle of the road. As I drove closer the shape changed and I quickly realized that it was a bear standing on its hind legs in the middle of the road. I had to shake my head to ensure I wasn’t seeing things. Having just finished a good trail run I expected the sweat to clear from my brow and the bear to disappear. It didn’t. Instead, sensing my approach, it slowly walked off the road with that nonchalant attitude that only bears have when a motor vehicle is speeding towards them.

As it made room for me I approached slowly. Windows went up and hazard lights came on. As I drove past I gave the area a wide berth and slowed right down. You never really know what bears will do so even though I was in a vehicle I was playing it safe. As I drove past I took one final look back and that is when I noticed there was a whole family of bears in the tree. I pulled over once I had reached what seemed like a safe distance. I was about a quarter of a kilometre up the road and could see three bears up the tree. At first it seemed like they were set to destroy the tree one branch at a time as they shook it for all it was worth. Then I noticed that the family of bears (two cubs and a mum) were walking out on the branches likely trying to eat some sort of fruit. I couldn’t tell what the tree had which the bears liked but what ever it was, the bears were determined.

The branches were quite small in places and so as the bears proceeding out on the limbs the branch would bend and almost touch the ground. While I watched some of these branches broke and snapped off sending the bear to the ground with it. Other times the branch would slowly bend and not break allowing the bear an elevator ride back down to the ground. The bear would step off and the branch would snap back.

After a few minutes the awe of the situation wore off and I picked up my phone and began filming. Sorry for the terrible zoom and the jittering at the beginning but it was hard to hold it up.

Watching the bears was really interesting but what was more interesting (in a really sad way) was watching the humans who came by. The people who sped past me would have seen my vehicle parked on the side of the road with the hazard lights on. They would have seen the tree bits spread all over the road and should have slowed down to consider the hazards. But no, instead they screamed through at brake neck speed and luckily avoided having a bear land on their vehicle.

It makes me sad that as we encroach further on the bear’s territory we have people who have such little respect for anything except getting from point A to point B they will not only put the bears at risk but also anything in their path.

Having shared this video with a few others before creating this post I heard story after story of people whose behaviour puts these bears at risk. Some of these stories included people chasing bears in their cars or leaving their garbage out until a cub was trapped in it causing the mother to be distressed and finally shot.

I know we will continue to encroach onto bear territory as we move into the mountains but lets show some decency to these magnificent animals.

 

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