Spare their bears, but find new lairs, locals declare

“If we do come, we would shoot it and kill it,” man says conservation officer told him

  • Oct. 29, 2015 10:00 a.m.

This bear cub has been frequently sighted in Carlene La Hay's yard in Dewdney.

Laura Rodgers, Mission City Record


A bear cub has slept the past 10 nights in James Klassen’s pear tree, just 20 feet from his front door in Hatzic. He wants to send it back to the wild, but conservation officers say they aren’t able to help.

“If we do come, we would shoot it and kill it,” he said a conservation officer told him.

Carlene La Hay, who lives in Dewdney, heard the same when she called about the cub frequenting her yard.

“[It’s] been in our yard [for] over 10 days…I was given the exact same info from the conservation officer I spoke with,” said La Hay.

Klassen told The Record the small black bear cub hasn’t caused him any harm, so he told the officer not to come. Now he isn’t sure what to do.

“It’s a little baby black bear, probably born in the spring. It can’t be more than 60 pounds,” he said “And there’s no mother around he’s scared. As soon as you get close, he just runs away.”

The cub began scavenging the last few over-ripe pears from the yard’s 18-tree grove two Sundays ago.

La Hay’s cub is about the same size — she compares it to a large racoon, and her cat’s been chasing after it. She said it’s been seeking out acorns from her yard’s oak trees.

“He just sat there in the tree, eating his pears in front of us,” said Klassen said. “I thought he was going to leave when the food ran out.”

Now, he sees the cub confusedly wandering through the two cleared acres in his yard. Once, he caught the bear trying to eat its own waste. “I think he’s starving now,” said Klassen.

The cub in Klassen’s pear tree






A family with small children lives on the other side of Farms Road, so he doesn’t want the cub to take up permanent residence there. Last Saturday, he asked a conservation officer what they could do.

He said he was told they don’t relocate bears, because of worries about them returning to populated areas.

Steve Jacobi, a conservation officer who supervises the Fraser Valley area, said moving a bear this late in the year would likely be a death sentence. When dropped off in an unfamiliar area, bears face stiff competition for feeding territory. They need to save up fat for winter hibernation, but they often try to make the long journey back where they came from instead.

Klassen’s cub, wandering his yard







Black bears are common around Mission, and the Conservation Officer Service wouldn’t consider a small cub in a yard to be a threat, Jacobi said. If Klassen doesn’t want the bear to return, he could try making a loud commotion in the yard, putting an electric fence around the tree or chopping the tree down, the officer added.

Klassen hopes there is some way to move the cub out of his yard but keep it alive.

“I don’t want (them) to kill it…I don’t know what do to with this little guy,” he said.

According to Bear Awareness safety information from the District of Mission, seven bears were shot in Mission in 2014.

Jacobi reminds locals not to approach or feed bears, and not to leave out food in the open or in unsecured containers. If a black bear gets too close, you should try to appear as large as possible, make loud noise and back away slowly.

For more information, call WildSafe BC at 604-702-5005.


Just Posted

UPDATE: Man in mid-20s killed in targeted shooting in Abbotsford

Location of shooting the same as where innocent bystander Ping Shun Ao killed in 2015

Fraser Health asking taxpayers for millions more in health care capital funding

Health authority wants Fraser Valley taxpayers to triple annual contribution to $5.75 million

Downtown Mission: Ready to revitalize

With the bidding process underway, construction could start by mid-March

‘Compassion club’ operator loses bid to have pot-trafficking charges thrown out

Bob Woolsey of Mission argues that laws were not valid at the time of alleged offences

Location eyed for possible collector well

New estimate puts price tag of new water source at $81 million

B.C. cougar kitten rescued after mother struck by vehicle

Conservation Officers find home for young kitten found dehydrated and frostbitten near Williams Lake

Vancouver hoping free public Wi-Fi expansion will drive tourism dollars

Mayor Gregor Robertson says expansion bolsters its “leading Smart City” status

Women’s movement has come a long way since march on Washington: Activists

Vancouver one of several cities hosting event on anniversary of historic Women’s March on Washington

Liberals’ 2-year infrastructure plan set to take 5: documents

Government says 793 projects totalling $1.8 billion in federal funds have been granted extensions

Workers shouldn’t be used as ‘pawns’ in minimum wage fight: Wynne

Comments from Kathleen Wynne after demonstrators rallied outside Tim Hortons locations across Canada

John ‘Chick’ Webster, believed to be oldest living former NHL player, dies

Webster died Thursday at his home in Mattawa, Ont., where he had resided since 1969

Giants fall in six-round shootout

Visiting Victoria squad beats Vancouver 4-3 at Langley Events Centre

World’s fastest log car made in B.C. sells for $350,000 US

Cedar Rocket auctioned off three times at Barrett-Jackson Co., netting $350,000 US for veterans

Bad timing: Shutdown spoils Trump’s one-year festivities

Trump spends day trying to hash out a deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

Most Read