Sow Bear and Runner Encounter Surprise to Both
Prince George, B.C. – The man attacked by a bear near Forests for the World this week, is recouping from his injuries.
Identified as Reid Roberts, the 46 year old received 16 stitches to his left hand and suffered some other superficial injuries in the Tuesday afternoon attack which occurred while the marathon runner was on a “run” with his dog.
Deputy Chief Chris Doyle of the BC Conservation Officer Service says their investigation revealed the sow bear was surprised by Roberts, a marathon runner, and his dog. “It appears it was a surprise encounter” says Doyle “I am not sure what noise, if any had been made at the time, but certainly all the evidence pointed to the fact that neither the runner, or the bear, really had any time or notice that there was about to be a surprise encounter.”
Roberts credits his dog for preventing the sow bear from causing him further , more serious, injuries as the dog “Pacer” attacked the bear, drawing attention away from Roberts.
Given that the bear was protecting her young in a “surprise” situation, Doyle explained the decision to euthanize the sow was made because of the location and likelihood of a repeat incident ” It’s a very difficult decision to make and no Officer wants to be put in the position to have to destroy an animal, especially a bear with cubs, but the factors used to determine that were; the nature of the attack also the location of the attack. Our number one concern is ensuring there wasn’t another incident that might occur and due to the location of the incident, it was likely something else could happen, as well as the nature of the incident being quite aggressive although the injuries were minor. Given the circumstances, it could have been much worse.”
Doyle says anyone heading into the backcountry or any wooded area should ensure they are prepared by ensuring their dog is leashed “In this case, the dog was protective of the victim and probably helped deter further injury or attack, but at times, dogs will also cause an incident either by pursuing wildlife on their own or getting between a sow and her cubs. Lots of times they ( dogs) may bring the animal back to the owner, or the owner will try and intervene to protect their dog and there have been incidents where people have been injured for those types of situations. So it’s better if they (dogs) are under control and leashed. As far as other tools people can use to help prevent those types of situations, obviously making noise, sometimes bells will work, also carrying pepper spray, it has shown to be an effective deterrent for deterring bear attacks. It’s not meant as a repellant, but in very rare incidents where a bear is going to make physical contact with a person, the pepper spray that is made specifically for bears, has been found to be very useful.”
The sow’s two cubs were tranquilized and sent to the Northern Lights Shelter in Smithers where they will be kept until old enough to be released back into the wild.