UPDATE: McArthur Island bruins nabbed
The suspects fled but, after a hot pursuit through several riverfront yards on the afternoon of Friday, Sept. 7, a mother bear and three cubs that had roamed the McArthur Island Park area for several weeks were taken into custody by conservation officers.
“She ran the three cubs up a tree and stayed at the base of the tree and we were able to tranquilize her,” conservation officer Darcy McPhee told KTW.
The cubs were darted one by one and, while two of the baby bruins were close enough to the ground to be easily dealt with, McPhee said a third bear climbed so high up the tree that a fall would have been unsafe.
To get the cub down, extra officers were called in to break the bear’s fall with a tarp.
“Raining branches and leaves, down came this cub,” McPhee said.
“So, we were sort of jostling left and jostling right. We got lucky and it landed right in the centre and a couple neighbours who were watching said, ‘Oh, you must do this all the time.’”
The bears were placed in a live trap and released north of the city later that day, unharmed.
McPhee said the mother bear, whose presence in the park led to the closure of the McArthur Island nature trail for several days, was originally attracted to the area because of its wild Saskatoon bushes.
“But, she very quickly found apples along Tranquille Road,” he said. “She was basically making her way along the river and just zipping into yards and finding apples.
“And, that did it. She abandoned the natural food stuff pretty quick.”
While the bears weren’t harmed, McPhee said the story doesn’t really have a happy ending. The mother bear has been ear tagged and, if she returns to the city, there’s a good chance she will have to be killed.
“Not to mention she’s in a different habitat now that’s unfamiliar,” he said.
“Life became a lot tougher for her and her cubs.”
However, another set of bears that were on the move in Kamloops may have a rosier future.
Two orphaned bear cubs that had been frequenting the Sun Rivers golf course were also captured on the morning of Sept 7.
“We had two specialized live traps set up at Sun Rivers, then the bears showed up across the highway at the Mount Paul Golf course in a tree,” McPhee said.
Officers were able to tranquilize both bruins, who were shipped to a rescue organization in Smithers on the weekend.
A third cub spotted in the area hasn’t been seen in a long time.
McPhee said it’s not clear what happened to it.
Meanwhile, another bear visit ended peacefully in Riverside Park on Thursday, Sept. 6.
The area near the park’s water park was cleared at about 5 p.m. when the bruin climbed a large willow tree looking for a place to sleep.
However, because the bear displayed no signs of aggression, conservation officers decided to let it have its nap and leave the park on its own.