A woman suffered a broken arm after surviving an attack by a black bear in Willowbrook with some help from her canine companion.
The woman was walking her dog on Aug. 5 in a community park when a 160-pound black bear attacked her from behind unprovoked.
The woman suffered a broken arm, severe lacerations from a bite to the arm as well as scratches on her back and face.
Her small dog saved the day ,according to Sgt. Jim Beck with the South Okanagan zone of the Conservation Officer Service.
“The little dog that she was walking, it’s only 20-25 pounds soaking wet, came back to intervene and did its best to bite at the bear and actually he was successful in redirecting the bear to it,” Beck said. “The bear chased after the dog and she was at that time, able to recover from the injury, stand up and get out of there.”
The woman was able to make her way to help and was taken to the hospital.
“The dog actually beat her home,” Beck said.
Afterwards, conservation officers set out on a multi-day search to find the bear, based on the victim’s description, and set up traps.
“It turned out to be a single, all-black black bear. Even the muzzle was described as being all black, which isn’t super normal, usually they have a bit of a brown muzzle,” Beck said.
Crews searched for the bear on Aug. 5 and saw a bear that fit the description just before dark, but weren’t able to capture or kill it. Conservation officers continued the search the next day and checked the traps. A bear matching the description was located close to the attack site. The bear was shot and killed by officers.
The search continued to determine if there was another bear with a similar description in the area with no results.
“We’re pretty confident we got the right bear,” Beck said.
The mature black bear is an estimated 160 lbs, and didn’t show signs of any injuries or illness.
Bear hit near Naramata
A bear that was struck by a vehicle near Naramata on Aug. 5 has yet to be located.
It’s unclear what kind of injuries, if any, the bear sustained, though it left the scene on its own power.
“An injured bear is not going to be as predictable as a non-injured bear. It might get into somebody’s yard or be hard to get off the road. Nobody knows how hurt it is,” said Zoe Kirk, WildSafeBC Community Coordinator for the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen.
Kirk said that she is receiving reports that the huckleberries have had a low yield due to the hot, dry weather this summer. This may push the bears closer to the surrounding communities looking for more food.
“That might put pressure on the other berries the bears generally eat this time of year when they come down for their last push before hibernation,” Kirk said. “We might have a late summer/fall with a little more bear conflict — bear sightings — than we’ve had before if they are coming down quicker.”