WATCH: There’s a very large bear roaming Port Coquitlam, but he seems to be harmless and staying away from people. The problem is that people can’t seem to stay away from him. Catherine Urquhart Reports.
Did you hear the story of the 500-pound Port Coquitlam black bear?
It put a school on lockdown. It wandered from house to house. There were even claims it was drunk on fermented apples.
The rumours through the day made the situation appear tense. But according to conservation officers, the wandering beast posed little threat.
“He’s just fat, and he’s lazy, and he was just resting,” said Conservation Officer Jack Trudgian, who said the bear is well-known to officers.
“It might like the neighborhood, but I wouldn’t say it’s a public safety concern.”
The saga of the bear started yesterday, when a Port Coquitlam couple reported it hanging out in their backyard.
Michael Sonntag said he spent yesterday making sure neighbours wouldn’t disrupt the bear, so conservation officers wouldn’t be forced to put it down.
“It pretty much slept with its feet on our house,” he said.
“I want him to make it to the green zone, this bear is completely docile, it has no business of being put down.”
In the morning, conservation officers decided it would best to guide the bear down to the Coquitlam River.
The problem? There was a middle school (Ecole Kwayhquitlam) between the river and the bear.
“We were hoping to move the bear down the river before school was out…so we had to secure the bear, and make sure the kids were back home safely,” said Trudgian, who added the lockdown had been lifted by the time school ended.
The route was slow owing to the bear’s girth and the gawking of onlookers, which distracted the animal.
“We did try to maneuver the bear down Praire road westbound, but due to the amount of people around, it didn’t want to go in that direction. It just wanted to go behind houses and hide,” said Trudgian.
At one point, officers attempted to goad the bear into climbing a tree so they could tranquillize it.
That proved futile.
“He’s so obese, he can’t even climb a tree,” said Trudgian.
“We don’t want to tranquillize the bear on the ground, we’d prefer to get him in the tree, but he’s so fat.”
Eventually, the bear found a thick clump of blackberry bushes to fall asleep in.
“It’s very tired, it’s had an exhausting day,” said Trudgian, who was hopeful the bear would return to its habitat today.
Ironically, the main danger to the bear came from all the attention it received, as reports of its slow saunter spread through the region.
“We tell people don’t get too close. There were people taking pictures and getting close, and that more than anything will make the bear think of people as a threat.”
Still unknown? Whether the same bear blocked a Canada Post delivery in Coquitlam earlier in the week.
WATCH: Lazy bear leads slow chase through Port Coquitlam