Conservation officers are still hoping to catch a bear cub that was one of three that escaped injury after the sow they were with was hit by a vehicle June 21 near Trout Lake in Halfmoon Bay.
The Conservation Officer Service (COS) was notified of the accident on Highway 101 around noon last Saturday.
The caller remained on the scene with the sow, said conservation officer Dean Miller, and had to herd the three cubs out of harm’s way several times before COS and RCMP arrived.
Miller said the sow was too badly injured to be saved and was destroyed at the scene, but conservation officers were able to tranquilize two of the cubs. The third had climbed too high into a nearby tree.
The COS has set a live trap at the base of the tree, and will continue to monitor the trap and the surrounding area for the next week.
Miller said the cubs are considered good candidates for wildlife rehab because there’s no evidence they’ve become habituated to humans or food conditioned. They’ve been sent to Critter Care Wildlife in Langley where they’ll stay until they reach the age that their mother would normally send them out on their own.
An examination of the sow’s body found it to be seriously underweight for this time of year. Miller said conservation officers have linked the recent dry weather to the poor wild berry crop and the higher than normal bear conflicts this year. The bear’s condition, he said, would have eventually led her to populated areas to access domestic fruit trees or garbage for food.
Miller said the cubs were also underweight.
“Of note in this case is that witnesses to the collision noted that the driver of the involved vehicle did not call the RAPP line to report the incident,” Miller said.
“The Conservation Officer Service encourages drivers to slow down when approaching wildlife on roads and highway and if they’re involved in an MVA with animals to report it immediately to prevent any unnecessary suffering.
“COS would like to acknowledge the resident who remained on site and most likely prevented future motor vehicle mortalities with this family group of bears.”
The 24-hour RAPP line is 1-877-952-7277.