A grizzly scene on northern Vancouver Island?

Conservation officers urging public to stay away as they cross their fingers young grizzly bears don't complete Island-hop

Conservation officer are urging people to leave two young grizzlies spotted on an island near Telegraph Cove alone.

Some rare four-legged visitors could be making their way to the north end of Vancouver Island.

Two grizzly bears have been “island hopping” from the mainland and were last sighted on Pearse Island, near Malcolm Island and Telegraph Cove, said Port McNeill-based conservation officer Jon Paquin.

The conservation office has been monitoring these bears for the past few weeks and says it is important to minimize any risk of human contact.

“The bears are believed to be dispersing sub-adults, and it is critical that the public leave them alone,” Paquin said.

People trying to get close, or closer, to the bears for photos or better viewing can contribute to habituation, which may lead to their destruction.

In order to avoid a tragic ending, Paquin is asking people to keep well away from the grizzlies and call in any sightings to the RAPP line as soon as possible to 1-877-952-7277 or report sightings online.

The COS is hopeful that if the bears are left alone, they will return to a more remote area.

This is not the first time grizzly bears have come over to Vancouver Island. In fact, it may be part of an increasing trend.

“Our bear monitoring research on the central coast has revealed that grizzlies are colonizing many inner islands which were never before occupied, and are doing so with increased frequency over the last decade. We do not know why but it has coincided with salmon declines,” said Chris Darimont, science director for Raincoast Conservation and the Hakai-Raincoast professor at the University of Victoria.

“We do not expect colonization on Vancouver Island, because human density is too high, especially along the eastern edge of the island where bears arrive and most humans live. People tend to panic and the poor bears do not last very long before they are killed,” said Darimont.

“We have had documented sightings in the past,” Paquin confirmed.

The most recent was last summer, when a grizzly made its way to the Woss area where it was destroyed by conservation officers.

Two years earlier, in June of 2013, an adult male grizzly bear broke into a Marine Harvest hatchery in Beaver Cove, at Telegraph Cove, and killed a Rottweiler at the site.

At that time, Steve Petrovcic, a North Island Zone conservation officer based in Black Creek, told the Gazette the grizzly was trapped and destroyed  after it was determined it was not a candidate for relocation, because it had exhibited desensitized behaviour.

The first grizzly/human conflict on Vancouver Island the conservation office  is aware of, said Petrovcic, was more than 20 years ago, when one tried to get into a barn where there were a number of calves. It was destroyed by the farmer.

In 2005, a grizzly in a First Nations community was destroyed after it showed desensitized behaviour. Then, in mid-May 2006, another sub-adult male grizzly was climbing over a fence into a residential back yard in Sayward where grandchildren were playing. An individual grabbed a firearm and shot the animal.

In addition to its prevalent black bear population, Vancouver Island was populated by pre-historic short-faced bears during the Ice Age. These massive creatures were larger than grizzlies and became extinct about 11,000 years ago.

he largest short-faced bear on record weighed about 2,500 pounds (1,134 kilograms). There are remains of these animals in Pellucidar Cave on the North Island.

— Kathy O’Reilly-Taylor, North Island Gazette

Just Posted

Mount Benson park users now have 100 more parking spaces

Regional District of Nanaimo opens new parking lot on Benson View Road

Nanaimo masters win track and field titles

Nanaimo Track and Field Club athletes take gold at provincials

Nanaimo council grants development permit for 170 apartments near Long Lake

Concerns raised over traffic around Rutherford Road

Man to be sentenced for sexual abuse of young girl in Nanaimo

Stephen Mark Castleden also sentenced for child pornography-related charges

RCMP investigating suspicious fire at Nanaimo apartment building

Early morning fire ignited under balcony at building on Glen Eagle Crescent

VIDEO: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ to be re-released with new footage

‘Avatar’ holds global box office record at $2.788 billion, while ‘Endgame’ stands at $2.743 billion…

Editorial: Make it out to the night market this summer

First Commercial Street Night Market of the summer is this Thursday, June 20

Elias Pettersson wins Calder Trophy as NHL’s top rookie

Vancouver forward first Canuck to win award since Pavel Bure in 1992

FVRD chair calls B.C. incineration plan for Philippines waste ‘disturbing’

Metro Vancouver ‘uniquely capable’ of safely disposing of waste coming back to Canada, say officials

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Shovels could be in the ground on Trans Mountain by September, CEO says

Ian Anderson points to weeks likely required for NEB to reinstate 2016 regulatory record

Scorpion gives birth after hitching ride in B.C. woman’s luggage

A Vancouver woman inadvertently brought the animal home from a trip to Cuba

RCMP allows officers to grow beards

Members can now wear beards and goatees, as long as they’re neatly groomed

Girl, 10, poisoned by carbon monoxide at B.C. campsite could soon return home

Lucille Beaurain died and daughter Micaela Walton, 10, was rushed to B.C. Children’s Hospital on May 18

Most Read