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UPDATE Conservation officers plan to trap, relocate Quesnel grizzly bear

Unusual bear sightings have been well inside the city

Conservation officers are taking action after receiving mutliple reports of a grizzly bear roaming around residential areas in Quesnel.

Conservation Officer Kyle Bueckert said a portable trap has been set for this grizzly, to transport it back to more traditional terrain. There was no intention to kill the bear, based on its behaviour so far.

“A grizzly bear is an apex predator, top of the food chain,” said Bueckert, and the recommended human response should be “to give it a wide berth, and leave it alone.”

If anyone sees it, the COS recommends calling it in. Black bears are expected to be in the area, but “with grizzly bears, we want to know where they are,” said Bueckert. Calling the COS does not amount to the bear being shot. “The only bears we euthanize are ones the pose a significant public safety risk or causing significant property damage.”

There were many sightings over the weekend by residents who watched the grizzly wander around and pick at food sources throughout the Johnston Subdivision (Sept 16-17).

Julie Dorge of Julie Dorge Photography happened to be one of the people who set eyes on the brown beast, which she described as looking “hungry and skittish” as it prowled the neighbourhood. She snapped a number of photos, but from the safety of a vehicle and long lens.

“It definitely did not have the vibe of a black bear,” she told The Observer.

The gallery of photos also revealed a point many commented on: this grizzly is skinny. That adds another element of concern for human safety when it is so deeply embedded in the urban areas of town.

The sightings led to many discussions on social media on the cause of the bears being in town, and whether the animal would, or should, be euthanized.

A wave of black bears already came in large numbers not just to this city, but all over the north. The leading theories on why such an influx occurred are wildfires pushing them out of usual habitat, plus drought and other environmental conditions cutting down their usual food sources.

The summer had revealed three prior sightings of a grizzly inside Quesnel city limits, according to the C.O. Service, and on Sept. 16 this latest was added to the list.

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