A conservation officer shot a bear with rubber bullets Wednesday to discourage it from hanging around a Chase River school. An Extension Road man reported the bear, which he spotted with two cubs, grazing on a neighbour's apple tree.
This time of year, boughs loaded with ripe fruit is an open invitation to bears building fat reserves for winter.
As the animals become accustomed to urban areas, they lose their fear of humans. That can lead to dangerous situations.
The attending conservation officer didn't want to kill the bear, just send it a clear message it's not welcome in a residential neighbourhood.
He gave the bear a "hazing," with rubber bullets, scaring it out of the apple tree and into a tall hemlock nearby.
"She's obviously got a lot of habituated behaviour," said conservation officer Lorne Rinkel. "She needs to have some negative consequences." So far the bear hasn't shown any aggressive behaviour, so Rinkel decided to give it a good scare to send it on its way. Hopefully the pain of a couple rubber bullets to the behind will discourage its return.
Tom Bennett, who lives on Extension near Roberta Road, called the conservation service
with his concerns for the safety of children attending nearby Chase River Elementary School.
"There's a lot of young kids up this street," Bennett said.
School officials sent a letter home with students earlier this week, and students got a presentation on bear safety at an assembly Wednesday.
"They did get two calls about a mother bear being in he vicinity," said Donna Reimer, Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district spokeswoman. The bear could be trapped, if hazing doesn't drive it away or it turns aggressive.
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