Police officer forced to shoot bear — witness
The RCMP officer who shot and killed a black bear cub in a Langley neighbourhood Tuesday morning did not want to do it, an eyewitness said.
“I don’t want to use this,” the shotgun-toting officer told resident Angie Bilous.
“It’s for my protection.”
But a few minutes later, the bear started moving toward the officer and he was forced to fire two shots, killing the cub.
The bear had been roaming through front and back yards in the area of 196B Street and 72 Avenue for just over an hour.
Bilous said her 10-year-old son Boston was playing street hockey in a cul-de-sac with some friends around 10 a.m. when the players saw the bear.
Boston ran home to tell his family, who watched the bear from inside their home as it crossed the street in front of them and jumped a fence.
“It was just kind of walking along,” Bilous said.
Another resident, Paul Phibbs, saw the bear walk along the top of a fence like a cat.
“It looked like it was looking for food,” Phibbs said. “It was just ambling along.”
The bear reportedly helped itself to some food from a neighbour’s outdoor table.
It wasn’t a big bear, Phibbs said, no more than 30 inches tall on all fours and a bit over five feet when it stood up on its hind legs to climb a fence.
Phibbs said the bear created pandemonium in the neighbourhood, with kids screaming and parents yelling to get them back inside.
When the officer with the shotgun arrived, he shouted at onlookers to get inside for their own safety.
Langley RCMP Sgt. Don Davidson said that may have provoked the bear.
“The bear may have taken that [the shouting by the officer] as aggressive,” Davidson said.
Around 11 a.m. the bear headed straight for the officer, who fired two shots.
“He [the officer] had no choice,” Angie Bilous said.
The bear appeared to be picking up speed as it headed toward the officer, she added.
The wounded bear made a disturbing whining noise after it was shot, Bilous said.
The black bear was a one to one-and-a-half year old male, according to an RCMP press release.
First reports of a bear wandering through residential neighborhoods in Langley came in Friday.
Police issued a public warning on the weekend.
It was the second killing of a bear in Lower Mainland residential areas within a week.
Last week, a mother bear was shot and killed in Anmore, orphaning three cubs who are now being cared for by Critter Care Wildlife Society in South Langley.
Langley RCMP issued a written reminder to the public to be aware of wildlife in their area and to try and secure garbage, barbecues and compost material.
If a bear is in a yard or street, residents are asked to call the Provincial Wildlife Service at 1-800-663-9453.
Photos: top and middle by Paul Phibbs, bottom by Angie Bilous