Topley Landing woman narrowly escapes a black bear attack

A woman suffered injuries to her head and torso when she was attacked by a black bear near Topley Landing last weekend.

Conservation officers and the Ministry of Environment issue bear aware tips following a number of black bear and grizzly bear attacks across B.C. this month however bear experts say that fatal black bear attacks are a rare occurrence.

Conservation officers and the Ministry of Environment issue bear aware tips following a number of black bear and grizzly bear attacks across B.C. this month however bear experts say that fatal black bear attacks are a rare occurrence.

A woman suffered injuries to her head and torso when she was attacked by a black bear near Topley Landing last weekend.

The woman had been walking her small dog near the Babine Lake community, when the dog ran off and returned with a bear in pursuit.

The bear then turned its attack on the woman, but the dog came back to divert the bear long enough for the woman to escape.   She made it home and was taken to Lakes District Hospital for treatment.

Conservation officers from Burns Lake, Smithers and Vanderhoof closed off the area while they search for the young black bear believed responsible for the attack.

Also this month a First Nations elder from Lillooet was mauled to death and partially eaten by a black bear and man in his 50s living on B.C.’s central coast was mauled by a grizzly bear near Rivers Inlet while berry picking.

He survived the attack but was hospitalized for several weeks with serious injuries. Also this month, a man was chased down and attacked by a black bear while jogging near Mount Seymour and a North Vancouver woman was terrified in her own home after a black bear attacked her dog and then tried to force its way into her home.

However, wildlife experts say that from a large number of reported human and bear conflicts every year in Canada, very few result in fatalities. Mike Baldry an animal-human conflict specialist with the ministry of environment said to Lakes District News that fatal black bear attacks, like the one in Lillooet are rare.

“Predacious black bear attacks do occur, most often they are from older male black bears that are not food conditioned,” he said, adding that there was no evidence that the Lillooet attack was caused by bear that had been fed by humans.

Baldry went on to say that the Rivers Inlet grizzly attack was a made by a mother bear protecting her cubs and is usual behaviour in that instance.

Jeff Palm, conservation officer for the Bulkley Stikine zone said that bear complaints in the local area were at usual levels during the first part of the summer with problems reported in logging and tree planter camps.

“Some issues arose with both grizzlies and black bears when industrial camps neglected to properly contain their garbage.”

He went on to say that currently there are below average bear complaints in the Burns Lake area due to the rainfall.

“The rain has provided ample berries and green grass to keep bears occupied,” he said.