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Viral video exposes B.C. bear turning family deck into winter bunkhouse

TikTok video has more than 4 million views after Cowichan family learns to listen to their dog

A few months ago it was a bear in a Lake Cowichan convenience store selecting some gummy bears for a snack.

Now it seems there’s another bear making use of human property in the Cowichan region, this time a black bear sleeping under the Weaver family’s deck.

Crystal Weaver lives along the Cowichan River, a place well-known as a high traffic wildlife thoroughfare, but she never expected to find a bear snoozing under her porch.

A video of the encounter she posted on TikTok has since gone viral, amassing 4.3M views.

@cocobeansandcrew this black bear thought the space under our deck might be a great place to spend winter. scared it off and are now bear proofing the area. pay attention when your dog's try and tell you something, they might be barking for a reason. #bear #blackbear #hybernation #youcantstayyougottago #eek #canipetthatdog ♬ Can I pet that dog - KaylaaWade

Weaver explained that for a week or so her two-year-old dog Coco was barking a lot and generally acting out of character.

“She’s was just losing it,” Weaver said. “He was barking every time we let her out for a couple of weeks. We just thought she was being an idiot and she absolutely was not,” Weaver said.

It’s just that Coco knew something her humans didn’t.

Weaver and her husband were in bed watching a movie one night when they heard thumping under the deck just outside their bedroom. She said they’d turn the TV off to hear but but every time they got up, went outside, and turned on the lights, it went silent.

“It was really weird and we couldn’t figure out what it was,” Weaver said. They eventually suspected a raccoon family had taken up residence down under the deck and figured they’d have a look the next morning.

“In the morning, my husband went down and he came face to face with a black bear,” Weaver said. “He was absolutely terrified. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him move so fast.”

An attempt to drive the big animal away by jumping on the deck didn’t work so Weaver called the the RAPP line and they sent out some local conservation officers, who arrived within a couple of hours.

“It’s not safe to flush a bear out from under your house yourself,” she noted.

The BC Conservation Officer Service managed scared the bear off and back into the wilderness with loud noises.

Following the ordeal, the Weavers have sprayed a significant amount of cayenne pepper under the porch and hope it works as a deterrant, until a more permanent solution can be found.

“Apparently they don’t like the spicey dust,” she explained.

Weaver never imagined her TikTok would get so much attention but hopes the millions of viewers will learn from her experience and make sure their homes aren’t attracting bears and other wildlife.

“It’s been a little weird to be honest,” she said of all the attention. “But I think it’s nice to have a story where a bear doesn’t get shot. If bears are in the news it’s usually not for good reasons. All the success stories rarely make the news.”

Weaver counts this incident as a success story for all those involved; she got a viral video out of it, her husband got an up close look at a wild bear, and the bear got to return to the wilderness.

“Maybe that encounter with people was super scary for it and now maybe that bear won’t be back anytime soon,” Weaver hoped.

“But the bears will be back,” she attested. “They will keep fishing on the river. But this might at least give us some time to bear-proof.”

To report human-bear interactions call the RAPP line at 1-877-952-RAPP (7277) or report it online.

Sarah Simpson

About the Author: Sarah Simpson

I started my time with Black Press Media as an intern, before joining the Citizen in the summer of 2004.
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