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Bear expert says B.C. attack likely a rare case of a bear treating humans as food

Attack on family that sent three people to hospital appears to be a ‘predaceous’ incident

An expert in bear behaviour says an attack on a family in northeastern British Columbia that left two women with critical injuries appears to have been a rare example of a “predaceous” attack by a black bear.

Ellie Lamb, director of community outreach for the Get Bear Smart Society, says that by knocking down the women near Dawson Creek Monday night then staying close by them for more than an hour, the large boar bear was likely treating humans as food.

RCMP say they shot the bear dead after it was observed “guarding” the injured women, aged 30 and 48, and could not be chased off.

Lamb, a wildlife guide who serves on several B.C. advisory bodies related to human-bear interaction, says bears could exhibit predatory behaviour towards humans if improperly managed at a young age, but this was extremely uncommon.

She says officers were left with no option but to kill the bear involved in Monday’s attack on Bear Mountain.

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service says it will release an update on its investigation into the attack, which also left a teenage boy injured.

A statement posted to social media by the service says the family of four turned and ran when the bear charged them Monday evening. The service says the bear chased them and attacked one woman, while another woman and a teenage boy were injured trying to help her.

The RCMP say they were called to the scene and searched for the victims for about an hour at the cross-country ski club trails on Bear Mountain, south of Dawson Creek.

The Mounties say officers shot and killed the animal, making way for the victims to be airlifted to hospital with life-threatening injuries.

The conservation service says one woman was taken to hospital in Edmonton, and her condition is now unknown. The two other victims were taken to hospital in Dawson Creek.

“No additional bears were located during a sweep of the area. A necropsy will be conducted on the bear, an adult male.”

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