Mother bear attacks Mission woman, conservation officer

Animal charged, knocked down and bit conservation officer before being pushed off and shot

An aggressive mother black bear attacked a Mission woman in her house, then a conservation officer responding to the incident, before being shot dead Sunday morning.

A 21-year-old woman went to the door of her Wren Street house just after midnight after her dogs began barking. But when she opened the door, she found herself face-to-face with a 200-pound black bear. The woman stumbled back and fell, at which time the bear pounced on her and bit her on the back. The woman’s boyfriend quickly came in and scared the bear off, according to Murray Smith, an inspector for the Conservation Officer Service.

The woman was taken to hospital with superficial wounds, but released shortly thereafter, without requiring stitches.

“She’s very lucky that she didn’t sustain more serious injuries,” Smith said. “It’s fortunate the boyfriend was there.”

Mounties responding to the incident found the bear and two 75-pound, nine-month-old cubs in a nearby tree and called Conservation Officers. But when one of two officers responding to the call approached the tree, the mother bear came down and charged her. It attacked one of the officers, knocking her down and biting her. The officer managed to push the animal off and shoot it dead, Smith said.

The two cubs were then also killed, while the officer went to hospital to receive stitches for her wounds.

Smith said the attack was “very rare.”

He said the bears were deemed to be “food-conditioned and human-habituated,” which ruled them out for rehabilitation and relocation. The mother’s aggressiveness in particular showed it had lost its instinctual fear of humans.

Smith said that while there have been 245 reports of bears in Mission this year, the incident is the first time officers needed to destroy a bear this year.

He said there have been reports of bears being a problem – getting into garbage and fruit trees – in the area for some time, but that officers who canvassed the area following the attack heard that many people hadn’t reported the activity. Smith said that’s a problem, because if officers know earlier that bears are an issue, they can take steps to educate residents on how to deter the bears and reduce the need for more significant action.

“It’s really important the public call us and report any conflict around bears when they first encounter these problems.”

Anyone who spots a bear should report it to the Conservation Officer Service by calling 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP).

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