Black bear has a spa day in Blueridge

Bemused homeowners get an uninvited pool guest

Blueridge couple Tony and Denise Diering had an unexpected guest for dinner in their backyard Monday evening — a full-grown black bear that decided to take a dip in their swimming pool.

“We were just about to sit outside on the deck, and I looked and the bear was at the pool,” recalled Denise, of the burly visitor that broke down a fence around 6 p.m. to get into the yard on Lampman Place.

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The couple sat there and took in the wildlife show safely from the balcony above the pool. “And we just watched him (the bear) have a swim. He just sat there for 10 minutes doing his nails. And then he just hopped up and went in the hot tub,” said Denise.

Tony took out his iPhone and captured the experience, while Denise snapped some pictures with her camera.

“I mean, how often do you have a bear sitting in your yard making himself at home?” questioned Denise.

This isn’t the first time a bear has frolicked in the Diering’s yard. Denise suspects it’s the same animal that helped itself to some bird feed about a month ago.

At the same time, the couple isn’t concerned the bear will cause them any harm and are worried for its welfare.

“I don’t want anything bad to happen to that bear,” said Denise, adding, she would never call a conservation officer.

The Diering’s pool guest has caught some global attention, after they sent the video to a Vancouver TV station. American broadcaster NBC as well as  major Canadian media outlets including the Toronto Star have picked up the story.

“I’m amazed, it’s just a bear having a swim,” said Denise of Blueridge being in the spotlight this week.

As for the damage the bear left in its wake, the fence is getting fixed this week and the Dierings will be throwing some extra chlorine in the pool.

It’s believed the Blueridge bear is the same one that has been roaming the Seymour area for the past three summers, said North Shore Black Bear Society education co-ordinator Christine Miller.

“And the bear is not doing anything bad, it’s just finding a lot of bird feeders,” said Miller.

Bird feeders are an easy food source and provide bears the same amount of calories as a whole day of berry foraging.

Miller is advising those people who want to attract birds — and not large wildlife — to only put out small portions of bird feed and monitor it.

The good news is North Shore residents are getting the message about managing their garbage and green waste so as to not attract wildlife such as bears, reports Miller.

Through education and bylaw enforcement the three local municipalities have come a long way since 1999 when 39 nuisance bears were destroyed on the North Shore. Three bears were killed here last year, two of which were in West Vancouver, the other in North Vancouver district.

A British Properties’ family, meanwhile, returned home from vacation Wednesday morning to find a window smashed on their vehicle and the interior scratched up. The culprit? A curious black bear that was interested in something inside the vehicle parked in the 500-block of Hadden Drive.

“There was food that was left inside the vehicle and the windows were cracked,” said West Vancouver Police Department spokesperson Const. Jeff Wood. “It basically smashed the window, gained entry to the vehicle and scratched it up.”

Wood said the incident serves as a reminder for North Shore residents to not leave trash out in the open where wildlife can get at it.

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