A grizzly bear and her cubs feast on salmon at the Atnarko River in September. Rob Coetzee photo

B.C. man drives to hospital following grizzly attack

The Bella Coola man surprised a sow grizzly bear that had been feeding on a cherry tree

A Bella Coola Valley man has been transported to hospital in Vancouver for further treatment after being attacked by a sow grizzly bear early Tuesday morning.

The victim, whose name has not been released, was coming out of his cabin on Grant Road between Hagensborg and Bella Coola at about 6 a.m. when he startled the grizzly and her three cubs as they were feeding on a cherry tree beside the home, said Conservation Officer Service Insp. Len Butler of the Thompson Cariboo Region.

“Basically when the person came out, the cub dropped out of the tree which is right by his door and the sow was feeding on the cherry tree also, she saw him and basically attacked him immediately. [It was a] very short attack, lasting only a few seconds, but the subject was bitten up pretty good and basically after that the sow and her three cubs just walked away.”

The victim was able to go back into his cabin and get his keys and drive himself to hospital in Bella Coola.

“Which is encouraging when you hear that,” Butler said, noting the man was in stable condition and suffering from wounds to his head, abdomen and leg — something Butler said is very typical of a defensive attack from a grizzly.

Bella Coola conservation officer Steve Hodgson started the investigation immediately, including gathering DNA evidence, and secured the scene to ensure no other public was a risk from the grizzly, while a predator attack team out of Williams Lake was en route to the Bella Coola Valley Tuesday morning to respond to the incident and determine next steps.

Read more: Kayaker mauled by grizzly bear in southeast B.C.

Butler said these types of encounters are exactly what the COS hopes to avoid by educating the public to manage their bear attractants, such as ripe fruit, on their properties. Through the COS residents can even receive free electric fencing for their trees as fruit ripens, and the COS is continually working with communities to make them bear-aware.

“We’re at the point now where there’s just no excuse [for not dealing with bear attractants],” Butler said. “Here is the result when you don’t.”

Read more: Bella Coola sow grizzly destroyed, cub sent to Smithers rehab centre

He said currently there are many grizzly bears in the valley roaming between creeks and rivers feeding on salmon and ripening fruit trees, even walking among homes and through businesses. Meanwhile the valley also has an influx of visitors at this time of year coming to vacation or fish the same areas the bears are in.

“We’ve been waiting, wondering when something was going to happen.”

Butler said they will locate the sow and her cubs and monitor her movements and behaviour and then make a determination on her future after that.

“We try and make the best choice that we can,” Butler said of deciding whether or not to destroy the animals, noting that they do not always put down bears that are only acting defensively.

“Let’s be honest, if the cherry tree wasn’t there, would she be there?”

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Convicted animal abuser to return to B.C. court May 21

Catherine Jessica Adams is facing a breach of probation charge

Gallery: Project Heavy Duty inspires students into it’s 32nd year

The event is a collaboration between SD91 and industry in and around Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake and Fort St. James

Telkwa pot plant application passes review

Cannabis company claims new Health Canada regulations are working in its favour

Madison Scott’s mother hosts event to keep search for her missing daughter alive

Eight years ago, the Vanderhoof teenager disappeared, and the RCMP continue to chase leads

Cullen demands action on Ecstall River

Failing to penalize parties involved undermines all salmon conservation efforts, MP says

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of Victoria Day

How much do you know about the monarch whose day we celebrate each May?

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Facebook takes down anti-vaxxer page that used image of late Canadian girl

Facebook said that the social media company has disabled the anti-vaccination page

Search crews rescue kids, 6 and 7, stranded overnight on Coquitlam mountain

Father and two youngsters fall down a steep, treacherous cliff while hiking Burke Mountain

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Carbon dioxide at highest levels for over 2.5 million years, expert warns of 100 years of disruption

CO2 levels rising rapidly, now higher than at any point in humanity’s history

Most Read