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Increased bear sightings in Lower Mainland causing tension between conservation officers, public

Last Updated Jul 27, 2019 at 6:49 am PDT

The entrance to Mundy Park in Coquitlam. (Marcella Bernardo, NEWS 1130 Photo)

Increased bear sightings are leading to tensions between conservation officers and the public

Conservation officers have found people tampering with humane traps and blocking officers from conducting their work

COQUITLAM (NEWS 1130) – Bear sightings continue to happen across the Lower Mainland, but some people are concerned it may lead to the death of the animals that have been wandering too close to humans after another sighting in Mundy Park.

Sgt. Todd Hunter with the Fraser North zone says some people have already been caught tampering with humane traps and one person tried to block officers from searching a backyard in Coquitlam.

“They can not prohibit us in the course of our duties and the person was actually warned and given one final warning to stop obstructing the officers in the course of their duty. It’s a public safety incident – a risk,” Hunter says.

Officers have been seen with firearms, making some people concerned they are looking to euthanize the bears and not relocate them.

“The reason why officers have firearms is obviously – the protection of the public is paramount, and the protection of themselves when we’re engaging in trying to actively capture them on the ground. It can be very dynamic,” he says. “It can get very dangerous. Essentially it’s officer safety and it’s policy to carry the firearms.”

He says they are looking for a family unit, a sow and two cubs, but haven’t found them.

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“The goal was to capture them and relocate the family group, to get them out of the area and away from further or escalating conflict.”

Another solitary bear has also been seen in the area and will likely be euthanized because it has become a nuisance.