bear attack 

There was nothing unusual about the behaviour of a black bear that took a swipe at a Sechelt woman’s face last weekend, say conservation officers. The Halfmoon Bay resident sustained facial injuries after an encounter with the bruin on her porch. Sechelt conservation officer Chris Doyle said the woman stepped onto her deck Saturday evening to investigate what she though was a racoon rattling her bird feeder. Instead, she found herself facing a bear. Cornered between the house, the fenced in sides of the porch and the human blocking its escape route, the bear apparently felt threatened and lashed out at the woman as it fled. Conservation officers, police and ambulance services responded immediately to her husband’s 911 call. She was taken to St. Mary’s where she received stitches and we released the same night. Doyle said there was probably no way to avoid the encounter once the woman had stepped onto the porch. The only alternative, he said is to avoid attracting bears in the first place. He said feeders should be located away from residences and out of reach of bears and ideally only be used in winter months. Conservation officers tried to trap the bear but Doyle said it hasn’t been seen since the incident. He said it may have already gone into hibernation. "This is the first time I am aware of that there has ever been contact with a person in this area," said Doyle. He said there is no set provincial policy in dealing with a bear that has had an altercation with a human. "It depends on the circumstances. In most cases we will try and catch the bear, or at least locate it, especially when the encounter has occurred in a residential or urban environment. In some cases where there have been attacks in the wilderness there has been no attempt to catch the bear if the behaviour was natural. Although the behaviour was natural in this case, what wasn’t natural is the bear was feeding at a bird feeder."

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