A number of families in East Vancouver started their day with a black bear sighting near the PNE.
Conservation officers, police officers, and firefighters were all called to the area of Renfrew and East Hasting after the bear was spotted at about 6 a.m. Friday morning. According to police, the bear hid in a tree in the 2900-block of East Pender Street after spotting a VPD officer.
Conservation Officer Jack Trudgian said the bear is a one-and-a-half-year old male weighing about 120 pounds, and likely came from Burnaby Mountain.
“He came off the mountain, followed the [railroad] tracks and probably crossed PNE Hastings here and then he found a nice little park,” Trudgian said. “But he’s caught himself in a predicament – we just can’t have bears in Vancouver.”
Sam Becker was taking her daughter to school when she noticed crews putting the ladder against the tree.
“We thought it was a cat up a tree or something,” she said. “It is pretty cool to see [a bear] up close like that. It is kind of scary though that it’s so close to our house, so it’s good these guys came and are going to take it back to where it belongs.”
The bear was tranquilized and will be relocated to a quieter area close to their natural food source. Trudgian said young bears often leave their mothers in May since they are coming out of hibernation and older females will be mating.
“It leaves its mom and it’s on its own,” he said. “He’s going to come off the mountain and look for food.”
Vancouver police officer Paul Suwek kept an eye on the bear until conservation officers arrived. He also helped move the bear into the conservation officer’s vehicle.
“First time I’ve ever dealt with a bear,” Suwek said. “It was cool, my kids are loving the story already. I’m sending them pictures at home.”
Trudgian said although black bears aren’t usually a threat to the public, you should be vigilant and can carry bear spray as a precaution.
Sam, who lives in the East Van neighbourhood, told CTV News he has seen a coyote in the area but was stunned to see the bear.
“I’m still shocked,” he said. “It’s like living in the wild, but in the city.”
After the bear was safely removed from the area, Vancouver police sent out a press release warning East Vancouver residents to “keep an eye on their pic-a-nic baskets” and noted “Jellystone Park has not been ruled out” as a relocation possibility.