Conservation officers are asking dog walkers to keep their pups on a tight leash after a black bear bit and killed a dachshund on a backcountry hiking trail Friday afternoon.
A woman was walking her unleashed pup on the upper portion of the Lynn Loop trail in Lynn Headwaters when a young bear clambered onto the trail and pounced on the pet, according to B.C. conservation officer Simon Gravel.
“It’s very traumatic to lose a dog in that fashion,” he said.
The bear likely stalked the small animal before striking, according to Gravel.
Immediately following the attack, a passing hiker’s piercing whistle seemed to frighten the bear as the 150-pound bruin scampered into the woods, leaving the dog behind.
The bear might have hunted the dachshund in the same fashion as a rabbit, Gravel reasoned.
“They’re not discriminating,” Gravel said of bears. “They don’t recognize a dog from any other little prey that they can feed on.”
There are no plans to kill the bear, Gravel said.
“If it’s a recurrent situation we’ll have to reassess our response,” he added.
In the meantime, Gravel advised dog walkers to avoid Lynn Headwaters in the immediate future. He also recommended hikers carry bear spray.
As shocking as the encounter was, it’s a “fairly common incident,” according to Gravel, who said more than 50 per cent of negative encounters with wildlife involve a dog.
It can be “hazardous to have a dog loose when there’s coyotes and cougars and bears in the area,” he said.
Conservation officers have observed several cases in which territorial bears begin chasing dogs.
“That’s a learned behaviour due to the fact he’s been harassed so many times by dogs,” Gravel said.
Anyone who spots an aggressive bear in the area is asked to call the B.C. Conservation Office at 1-877-952-7277.