'It stalked us': Conservation officers kill grizzly after close call with same animal that attacked hiker
Conservation officers have destroyed a grizzly bear that stalked them after they went to investigate a serious bear attack on a backcountry cyclist near Powell River earlier this week.
The BC Conservation Officer Service said four of its members had been searching for the bear responsible for attacking Colin Dowler on Monday, sending the man to hospital with horrific injuries after he fought the animal off with a knife. As they searched for the grizzly Tuesday, the animal stalked them in turn – coming within a few metres.
“It was definitely a little threatening,” said Sgt. Dean Miller. “It actually probably stalked us for about half an hour while we were thinking we were stalking it – it was just happenstance that one of the officers actually picked up on the bear's odour from behind us and alerted the second officer who then destroyed the bear."
When they examined the bear, which they shot less than four metres away from the nearest conservation officer, they found a deep stab wound on its neck from where Dowler had slashed it as he fought for his life.
With nearby workers at risk, the conservation officers had taken a two-and-a-half-hour boat ride from Powell River to remote Ramsey Arm, where the road-building crew leant them a truck and pointed them in the right direction.
The camp cook told CTV News Dowler cycled there for help with injuries that were tough to witness.
“If you looked at his back where his kidney would be, it looked like a T-bone steak size of flesh was missing and you could see things that a person's not supposed to be able to see,” said Vito Giannandrea.
Smith says Dowler, who lives in Quadra Island but is receiving treatment in Vancouver, has come out of surgery and is expected to recover. A necropsy on the grizzly is now underway with results expected soon, hopefully with information that can help them determine why the animal attacked.
“At this point I can’t say [why], so we’re trying to put some of the pieces to the puzzle together,” said Smith.
Miller said a full report is being compiled on the incident, which will include the fact the five year-old male grizzly was about 350 pounds and healthy, with plenty of food around him. He says despite some heart-pounding moments, the team’s training kicked in instantly and they responded as expected to an aggressive and predatory animal.
“I think it’s a good reminder to the public not to get too comfortable with wildlife,” he said. “We’re never really used to it and neither should the public (be).”