A black bear at the RCMP’s Pacific Regional Training Centre on Sept. 30, 2020 as seen in the camera of photographer William Snow. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

VIDEO: Black bear visiting UFV in Chilliwack safely tranquilized and relocated

Small bear was in the area for a number of days before going up trees at the RCMP’s training centre

A young black bear had a couple of days of adventure this week that was a little too close for comfort to residential areas near the Vedder River and near the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV).

The 100-pound omnivore was reported five or six times to the B.C. Conservation Officer Service (BCCOS), according to Sgt. Don Stahl before he was eventually tranquilized and taken for a long drive up the Chilliwack River Valley for safe relocation.

Stahl said anglers on the Vedder River near the Rotary Trail reported the bear was on the water behind the RCMP’s Pacific Regional Training Centre (PRTC), which is next to UFV. It was trying to get into an ice box and Stahl said the anglers scared him away.

Early in the afternoon on Sept. 30, a resident near the Vedder River snapped a photo of the bear in his back yard. Not long after, the bear made his way across the UFV campus eventually going up a tree behind the fending at the PRTC at the corner of Dieppe and Caen Avenue.

The bear hung out for several minutes on the lowest branch of a tree near Dieppe, allowing pedestrians, cyclists and even passing vehicles to get a glimpse, all as several RCMP officers from the PRTC monitored the situation with firearms at the ready.

After a while, and right around the time when conservation officers arrived, the bear came down the small tree wandered closer to Keith Wilson Road, and climbed close to 30 metres up a huge Douglas fir tree.

A black bear at the RCMP’s Pacific Regional Training Centre on Sept. 30, 2020. (William Snow photo)

Again, onlookers watched and after more than a hour, the bear came down, and conservation officers were able to tranquilize him, load him into a trailer, and drive him into the Chilliwack River Valley.

Stahl said the bear was under two years old, probably weight about 100 pounds. Officers took him about 40 kilometres into the valley and as far away from people as possible.

At the time, some said there was another bear in the area but Stahl said since this bear was captured, they haven’t had any more calls.

Stahl said about three weeks ago they were also able to tranquilize and relocated a mother bear with cubs.

“They were breaking into chicken coops in Ryder Lake,” he said. “The mother would wait outside the chicken coop and the cubs would climb the fence.”

Those bears were relocated up past Harrison Lake.

There have been frequent bear sightings in recent months, and last summer a bear that seem habituated to the downtown area, and that was charging at people, had to be killed.

• READ MORE: Young bear killed downtown Chilliwack was habituated to humans

• READ MORE: Dash cam snaps photo of black bear near Townsend Park in Chilliwack

Stahl said there are a few tips to help not attract bears to residential areas:

• Secure your garbage and green bin in a shed or garage, and do not put it out on collection day the night before

• If you have a bird feeder, especially if you are in a rural area, take them inside and put them out in winter when bears are hibernating.

• If you have fruit trees, be sure to pick all the fruit and do not let fruit lie on the ground.

• If a bear does come on your property, bang pots and pans together to scare it away. If there is a lot of food around, they will likely come back in which case you can use an airhorn or bear bangers available at sporting good stores. (If you use bear bangers, alert the RCMP non-emergency line so it is not mistaken for firearms.)

Report any conflict with wildlife that threatens public safety, or injured wildlife by calling the RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277 or report online.

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