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Grizzly bear returns to Whistler as community gears up for Halloween festivities

Click to play video: 'Whistler trick-or-treaters warned grizzly bear is back'
Whistler trick-or-treaters warned grizzly bear is back
Conservation officers are warning Whistler residents a grizzly bear caught and relocated last week is now back in the community. As Angela Jung reports, it comes as trick-or-treating is expected to take place near where the animal was last spotted. – Oct 31, 2023

Halloween is all about the spooky, the scary and the gruesome — but in Whistler, B.C. this year, it will also be about the grizzly.

An uninvited guest returned to the mountain community on Tuesday, just as residents were gearing up for one of the biggest nights of the year.

That guest is a grizzly bear who made Whistler its home for several weeks this month, before the BC Conservation Officer Service was able to trap it for relocation on Oct. 26. The bear, however, appears not to have taken the message.

Click to play video: 'Couple killed by grizzly bear remembered as outdoor enthusiasts'
Couple killed by grizzly bear remembered as outdoor enthusiasts

That has some residents concerned, with the community hosting its annual Halloween at Tapley’s Neighbourhood, a car-free trick-or-treat event that draws hundreds of families for haunted displays and candy distribution.

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“I am not super worried about something happening, but there is I guess a small potential for it,” local Clark Lewis, who saw the bear Tuesday morning, told Global News.

“I just don’t see the point in letting it hang out here, I think it should be moved along like they do in other communities where there’s lots of grizzlies.”

In a statement, the BC Conservation Officer Service said the bear appears to be grazing on natural food sources and hasn’t shown any aggressive behaviour.

Click to play video: 'Conservation officers trap Whistler grizzly'
Conservation officers trap Whistler grizzly

The service said it is not recommending the area be closed, but with Halloween festivities scheduled it will have extra officers on site to monitor the area and provide public awareness.

“While we hoped the bear would stay away, relocation is not always successful,” the BCCOS said, adding that bears will soon be retreating to hibernate.

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“We ask the public to be patient, continue to give the bear space and secure all attractants to help prevent conflicts.”

Whistler Mayor Jack Crompton said the resort municipality trusts and relies on the advice and experience of the Conservation Officer Service.

He said along with the officers, the municipality will have firefighters on scene to ensure everyone is safe.

“Halloween at Tapley’s is a big piece of the experience of kids that grew up here,” he said.

“We live in bear country and we are careful about how we deliver events like this, so we feel like we’ve done the work to ensure its a safe event.”

Click to play video: 'B.C. woman shares story of encounter with grizzly bear'
B.C. woman shares story of encounter with grizzly bear

While some residents expressed concern about the bear risk, several others told Global News they felt wildlife officials had the issue well in hand.

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“I think it’s perfectly fine. It sounds like they’ve got it under control,” Whistlerite Daniel Grey said.

“I am not too worried,” added local Linda Gustafson, noting the bear is tagged with a radio collar so that conservation officers can track it.

“We live with bears all the time. Grizzly bears are a little more scary of course, but yeah I feel safe, Whistler does a good job.”

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