A black bear and her cub are getting lots of attention in Courtenay.
The pair has been seen high in a cottonwood tree near the Tsolum River where a busy road passes by.
“I just saw people standing here and I took a glance up and I could see a big old dark spot in the tree and I turned around to come to take a look,” said Heather Troy.
The bears have been very popular with local photographers who have been posting daily photos on social media.
“Yeah, it is a bit of a show alright,” said Steve Kane. “There’s been a lot of people, sometimes there’s like ten people here taking pictures. It’s kind of cool.”
Kane says the bears do go up and down but there’s some kind of cavity in the tree that the mother bear seems to think is just the right spot to spend the winter.
“I ran into an old guy the other day and he said his son chopped the tops off that tree a couple of years ago when the new road was built through here and he told him there’s a hole it, the tree is hollow and there’s a hole up there,” said Kane.
It might seem like an uncomfortable way to hibernate, but a bear expert says that’s what they’re doing.
“It’s a very wide range of den sites that they’ll choose but tree hollows are one of the top places that they choose to hibernate,” said Derek Downes, Animal Care Technician at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre in Errington. “Although these bears are more likely in a state of torpor which is like hibernation but for shorter stretches.”
Downes added while it’s not unusual for bears to den in a tree, it is unusual for people to see them do it.