Conservation officers are warning the public about an aggressive bear in Lynn Headwaters Regional Park after a jogger was chased by the bear while out for a run Thursday morning in North Vancouver.
The latest incident comes after almost a week of other more minor incidents involving the bear chasing dogs and following some runners and hikers in the park and Lower Lynn Conservation Area on an almost daily basis, said Conservation Officer Simon Gravel.
“It was very present in the area and hard to chase away,” said Gravel.
Conservation officers said the bear is the same animal that bit and killed a dachshund on the Lynn Loop hiking trail Aug. 17.
On Thursday morning, the bear followed a woman who was out for a jog in the park around 6:40 a.m.
Gravel said when the jogger realized she was being followed, she stopped running, tried to make herself look big and threw rocks at the bear. But the bear wasn’t deterred. The woman was eventually able to get to the gatehouse leading into the park and seek help from the park rangers.
But that behaviour by the bear brings the concern about public safety to a high level, said Gravel.
Trails including the Varley Trail and the Connector Trail in Lynn Headwaters were closed for part of Thursday but later reopened, after signs were posted warning the public about the aggressive bear.
Conservation officers were attempting to trap the bear on Thursday afternoon.
But Gravel acknowledged there won’t be a happy ending to the story.
The level of aggression displayed by the bear towards humans means conservation officers will have to destroy the bear, he said.
Gravel said the bear’s behaviour indicates that it has become habituated to being around humans and likely views them as food sources. The bear could have been conditioned by everything from being fed by people deliberately to accessing food in backpacks, or other human sources of food, he said.
Gravel noted that the woman who was chased by the bear Thursday morning did not have food with her.
While conservation officers attempt to trap the bear, they are warning the public to avoid the area if they can or alternatively, to carry bear spray, not to have dogs off leash and to hike in a group if possible.
Gravel said as summer segues into fall, the level of bear activity usually goes up on the North Shore, as bears bulk up prior to winter hibernation. It’s especially important to keep attractants like bird feeders and garbage under lockdown and pick ripe fruit promptly, he said.