WATCH: Neighbours are praising the calm, caring response of a conservation officer in Courtenay after a mother bear and her three cubs found themselves too close to a school there Monday. Witnesses say it was a tense situation that could have ended sadly, but as Skye Ryan reports, it’s ended up instead with a happy ending.
A bear and her cubs have been relocated after they were seen climbing a tree near Arden Elementary School in Courtenay on Monday.
A video from Karen Freiheit shows the mother bear and three cubs in the tree near Lake Trail Road, two blocks from the school, on Monday morning. They start to make their way to the ground but then climb back up the tree.
WATCH: A family of black bears have been relocated after climbing a tree near a Courtenay elementary school. Video Credit: Karen Freiheit
Freiheit said her heart just about jumped out of her chest when she saw the animals.
“I know the routine of this road. First the joggers are going to come by, then all the bicycle riders are going to come by then the kids are going to come by,” Freihet said.
According to Freiheit, the mother bear was snarling and growling. Then her husband Terry saw a man with a stroller approaching. Freihet said Terry then yelled at the man to stay back.
Freiheit said she called the BC Conservation Officer Service to come and have a look at the cubs.
The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change Strategy said a conservation officer came and saw several children and parents making their way to the school along Lake Trail Road. The officer advised passerby about the bears then was able to make the bears move to a green space just west of the school.
“When the guy came out he’s like ‘I can’t tranquillize her because she’ll die if she falls because she was way up there with her cubs. So we have to wait for her to come down.’ So we basically just went in the house and stayed quiet and she came down,” Freihet said.
“What a treat to see that and be up close and see the little cubs.”
The conservation officer also spoke to several neighbours and identified insecure attractants at several properties. The conservation officer issued one written warning to a homeowner and advised people at two other properties, according to the ministry.
The ministry said staff at Arden Elementary School and Lake Trail Middle School will share information with students and parents about what do do when a bear is seen in the area and how to manage attractants.