West Van bear wrecks car, avoids riot charges

It wasnt a bait car, but a West Vancouver sedan is missing some trim and covered in bear paw scratches after a curious bruin tried get in sometime Wednesday night,

The incident happened on the 500-block of Craigmohr Road.

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Damage included the side mirrors torn off, dents in the doors and roof, extensive paw and claw marks, and both driver and passenger doors bent and pulled partly open. There was apparently nothing to attract the bear to the vehicle, police say.

While police, the cars owner and possibly ICBC may never know about what led the bear to try to open the car like a tuna can, Tony Webb, chairman of the North Shore Black Bear Society has some ideas. Curiosity over a smell will motivate a bear to go to great effort.

If the cars owner was wearing citronella bug repellent, perfume or had recently fuelled the car up and spilled some gasoline, that would be enough, Webb said. If theres a bear around, hell pick that up half a mile away or more, he said.

Theres even some chance it was new car smell, which may confuse the bears senses. They are known to bite into hot tub covers, which have a scent bears perceive as similar to smell of ant hills.

The one smell they dont care for? Us.

Bears are aware of us because weve been so awful to bears over the centuries, Webb said.

While we are well into bear season on the North Shore, its important to do our best to put away anything that may draw bears in, for their safety as well as ours. There are about three bear-related injuries reported each year in B.C.

Considering there are thousands of encounters in British Columbia with bears every year, I think thats very, very low, said Webb. Brent Richter

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