A black bear that was seen on Renz Road, Newcastle Avenue and Nanoose Avenue on Thursday morning. This photo was posted by Leslie Walker on Facebook’s Swap/Trade/Share Group to warn the public of the bear. — Leslie Walker photo

Bear seen near Ballenas school put down

A black bear and cougar hanging around schools in Parksville Qualicum Beach Thursday morning were tranquilized and then had to be put down.

A bear was seen near Ballenas Secondary School. The bruin surprised Parksville resident Rob Anaka at approximately 10 a.m. while he was working on his computer. He lives on Newcastle Avenue.

“He was 10 feet away from me with only the screen door protecting me,” said Anaka. “It was a little nerve-wracking. I heard scrapping on my fence and I thought it was my neighbour’s cat coming in to chase my hummingbirds. I went to the back door and ‘that’s not a cat.’”

The bear got scared and climbed up Anaka’s neighbour’s tree. Anaka said he stayed up there for a while until the RCMP and Conservation Officers came.

“They tranquilized it first and then the convervation officer checked it for tags,” said Anaka. “It was already tagged. They then had to make a decision. The poor guy had to be put down because he is a four-time offender. The conservation officer said it has come back so many times that they just couldn’t allow it to keep coming back. It was not good for him to be in the city.”

According to the RCMP, the bear was already relocated 500 kilometres away from Parksville Qualicum Beach and still managed to find its way back.

Ballenas Secondary was warned about the bear in the area. Principal Rudy Terpstra advised students not to go outdoors until the bear has been captured.

Anaka said that the bear was not the only one that the conservation officers tranquilized that day.

“My neighbour saw at the back of their truck a cougar that I was told was also seen in the area,” said Anaka. “A bear and cougar at the same time. It’s scary.”

The cougar, according to the RCMP, was spotted near Qualicum Beach Elementary School. Dogs were used to track down the animal and was discovered up a tree near the school. It was tranquilized and also had to be put down.

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service has reported that in June there were 74 black bears destroyed, compared to 103 during the same time last year, and 66 killed in May compared to 119 in 2017.

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