On Friday afternoon a large brown bear was spotted in the downtown region of Vancouver, British Columbia near West Hastings and Abbott streets. Sydney Cavanagh, who was first to notice the large animal, said “I was just sewing and when I looked up there it was. I was shocked.” Cavanagh stayed still and spoke calmly to the bear so as not to alarm it. Brown bears can be very dangerous and should not be approached but after some time Cavanagh said that the bear started to show canine-type loyalty and after a few hours wouldn’t leave her side.
The last time a bear was spotted in downtown Vancouver was in December 2011 after it hitched a ride in a garbage truck and was hunting for food in the Queen Elizabeth Theatre’s underground parking lot. The bear was tranquilized and later released back into the wild.
This time around however, authorities have decided against tranquilization in an effort to study the bear’s unusual behaviour. Animal expert Christopher Gaze, who has worked with several bears throughout his career, said “it’s certainly strange for a bear to befriend a human but not unheard of especially if the human has saved the bear from a potential danger.” Gaze believes the bear was trying to make its way to Vancouver’s Vanier Park in Kitsilano, and if it continues will likely arrive in early July. Gaze isn’t exactly sure how long the bear will stay in Vancouver for but from experience he estimates it will be around until at least September 14.
If bear enthusiasts would like to see the bear, or for more information, they should contact Bard on the Beach at 604 739 0559 as they have generously offered to host it for the summer.