British Columbians urged to be on high-alert after fourth grizzly attack in two weeks

Hunters, hikers, and campers exploring the Kootenays should be on high-alert for bears after a string of attacks in the province.

Last week a grizzly bear attacked a man hunting in the Grave Prairie area, raising the total of attacks to four in the past two weeks. The man suffered from serious injuries but is expected to make a full recovery.

Around 7:30 a.m., the hunter came across the grizzly and her two cubs. Conservation officers believe that the attack was unpreventable. An elk carcass found on the site of the attack suggests the sow was hunting when she was startled by the man.

“There is extensive tracks around the area of a sow and cub grizzly bear,” Sergeant Cam Schley said in an interview. “So the conclusion is that the hunter surprised the sow on the kill, the sow attacked the hunter in a defensive manner, and once she felt the threat was gone, she left the hunter.”

In the aftermath of this most recent attack, conservation officers and the local municipalities are reminding residents to be bear aware.

“People are going to have to be particularly vigilant over the next two months until these bears go in hibernation,” Schley said to Global News.

“In the east Kootenays, this has been a very very dry year, and because of that, the berry crop has been poor. Bears are trying to fatten up for hibernation and they’re in search of food. But because there isn’t a great berry crop this year, it’s causing bears to forage elsewhere to find that food.”

To prevent bears from getting into household garbage, residents should keep bins stored in secure spaces and to take out their bins after 5 a.m. on collection day.

Earlier this month, there have been grizzly attacks near Canal Flats as well as Fort Nelson. In the attack near Fort Nelson, a grizzly bear with her cubs attacked couple of sheep hunters. After calling for help on their GPS, they were forced to spend the night in the wooded area before being rescued the next day.