Video of a bear encounter in Campbell River this summer is only coming to light now, but it’s getting a lot of reaction.
“I’m surprised the bear is tolerating all these people,” Marsha Vickers, a Campbell River resident hiking along the Campbell River, said Monday.
She and a group of friends had just seen the video.
“It’s going to get habituated to people, and eventually there are going to be problems where the bear is actually attacking people, and then they’ll have to shoot it or drag it somewhere else, and it’ll cause problems there,” added Ken Vande Burgt.
“I’ve seen bears pretty close, but look at the kid, he’s lucky he didn’t lose his hand,” said Ron Todd.
The video was posted to Instagram by Bl00k_ and shot by someone on a bridge looking down at the scene with the bear and several people.
The group on the beach below appeared to have been fishing in the Campbell River and then started taking photos, videos and selfies within inches of the bear.
WildsafeBC works to prevent conflicts with wildlife through “collaboration, education and community solutions.”
“You know that’s just not giving the animal the space that it needs,” program director Lisa Lopez told CHEK News. “That bear likely came over to that salmon that was available on the shoreline, and the action that we would suggest people take there is to back away from that space and give that bear space and time to finish its meal.”
Not only do the people not move away, but one man in particular is so brazen he’s seen trying to pet the bear.
“Dude, don’t touch the bear. Are you kidding me, man,” someone on the bridge can be heard yelling in the video.
“Like, don’t put yourself in extreme danger,” added Todd.
“We might have to put up signs, don’t pet the bears,” quipped Glen Chambers, who was taken aback by the video.
A spokesperson with the Ministry of Environment says it doesn’t look like the people fed the bear, which would have been an offence.
Otherwise, under section 27 (3) of the Wildlife Act, “A person who herds or harasses wildlife with the use of a motor vehicle, aircraft, boat or other mechanical device commits an offence.”
Using a camera to get up-close selfies with wildlife may not be illegal, but it’s also not smart.