A woman in Fanny Bay, south of Courtenay on Vancouver Island, had a frightfully close encounter with a black bear.
She was harvesting oysters when the bear nearly ran into her, and little did she know two people who saw it all unfold captured it on camera.
Wendy and John McKenzie were just outside their home enjoying their Fanny Bay view early Friday morning when they saw a person harvesting oysters on the beach. Soon after, they saw a bear.
“Walking straight west towards the girl that’s working. I yell at John, ‘There’s a bear!’ And he’s just taking his time walking straight out,” said Wendy.
Her husband, John, whistled as loud as possible, but neither the bear nor the woman reacted.
“No, because she’s too far away, and the wind was probably blowing towards us,” Wendy told CHEK News.
“He was probably 300-350 pounds. Yeah, he was a big boy,” said John. “He just kept walking closer and closer and closer. I think I was watching through a spotting scope, and what I saw, he was closer than probably within six inches.”
Wendy said it was difficult to watch, adding, “I’m having a heart attack because I’m thinking this bear’s going to attack her, and he crouched right down to sniff her or the oysters. One of the two.”
She snapped a picture moments before the woman whirled around and the bear scampered away.
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The 45-year-old mother of three declined an on-camera interview, saying she feels her English isn’t strong enough, but the more than two-decade Vancouver Island resident says she didn’t hear the bear until it was right behind her.
It scared her and caused her to jump, which scared the bear and caused it to flee. She says it left her heart beating fast, and it could’ve turned out much worse.
The woman, who didn’t want to be identified, captured a picture of the bear fleeing after the near encounter. She says she’s going to scan around where she’s working more often.
“I think it’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime things I think you’ll see,” added John.
The McKenzies say they’re just relieved the bear ran away, and the close bear encounter ended without any conflict or injuries.
Also on Friday, there were bear encounters in Esquimalt and View Royal as officials warn of a spike this past August in human/bear encounters compared to a year before.