Skip to content
Join our Newsletter
Join our Newsletter

Teacher plays trombone to fend off black bear at Shawnigan Lake school

“He wasn’t a fan of my playing, I’ll tell you that,” says Tristan Clausen. “I was making a lot of noise on that thing.”

A Shawnigan Lake-area teacher says he used the power of music to ward off a black bear that had been coming around his school.

Last Friday, when the bear was lurking around St. John’s Academy, music teacher Tristan Clausen noticed that a fellow staff member was banging on a door to try to get the animal to leave.

“I thought: ‘Well I can do better than that,’ and reached for my trombone and went out,” he said.

For a moment, the bear wasn’t quite sure what to make of it, but in the end, he left.

“He wasn’t a fan of my playing, I’ll tell you that,” Clausen said. “I was making a lot of noise on that thing.

“I wish I could say I played a tune but I was really just focused on making as much sound as I could.”

The trombone method might have worked, but it was only for a few days. By Thursday, the bear was back.

It’s just one of many bear encounters in the region this spring.

On Wednesday, West Shore RCMP issued a public warning after an aggressive black bear charged a hiker exiting a vehicle in the main parking lot at Mount Wells Regional Park, a wilderness park off Humpback Road in Langford.

The man had let his dog out of the vehicle just before the incident.

RCMP officers were at the site Wednesday afternoon after receiving the report and conservation officers were advised.

Last weekend, a black bear sow and her two cubs were captured in a Nanaimo neighbourhood and later euthanized after it was determined they had been eating garbage. The bears had been reported in the neighbourhood for more than a month.

Paper towels, pasta and tinfoil were found in their stomachs.

It was one of 246 bear reports this year in Nanaimo through May, up from 31 last year and 24 in 2020.

A black bear warning was issued for Port Hardy residents in May when a man encountered one of the animals, which was described as aggressive.

jbell@timescolonist.com