Tappen man attacked by mother bear

A Tappen man has been released from hospital after he was attacked by a black bear on his rural property Sunday morning.

The 53-year-old man, who is not being identified by the BC Conservation Service, was walking his property with his dog at approximately 10 a.m. The dog treed a black bear cub and as the man was attempting to pull the dog away from the situation, the mother bear attacked.

The bear knocked the man to the ground and began to bite and scratch the man, before it was distracted by the dog. Then the bear turned her attention back to the man, who was able to stand up and grab a stick, making himself appear larger and deterring the animal. The bear again turned her attention to the dog before noticing her cub had taken off into the bush. Then the bear turned and fled.

The man was taken to Shuswap Lake General Hospital by a neighbour. He sustained bites and scratches to his chest and shoulders and received numerous stitches. He was released from hospital care at 7:30 Sunday night.

The dog sustained only minor injuries.

After learning of the attack, the BC Conservation Service dispatched their Predator Attack Response team, which includes four to five officers. They attended the scene and interviewed the victim before canvassing the area. Neighbours were warned of the attack and the team has set up two culvert traps.

The attack took place on a rural farm property, approximately 2.8 km south of the Trans-Canada Highway. The conservation service is not releasing the exact address.

Isp. Barb Leslie with the BC Conservation Service says officers have made no decision on a course of action should the bear and her cub be captured.

“This is a case of a sow defending her cub, not simply an attack out-of-the-blue,” she said.

“That will certainly be taken into consideration when we assess the situation.”

Leslie says there are reports of up to 13 black bears in the Tappen area, so it is also possible that the traps could capture a bear not involved in the attack.

“We will assess the situation at that point, if and when we trap one,” said Leslie.

“We want people in the area to be aware there are bears and to take precautions.”

Leslie advises residents to remove all food attractants from their property and make sure garbage is stored in a secure area.

“If people are walking in the area, they should be keeping their dogs leashed and make lots of noise so bears can be alerted to their presence and be scared off before any contact even takes place.”

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