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Black bear drops from tree after being shot by tranquilizer gun in busy downtown Port Coquitlam

Conservation officers say bruin wasn't hurt but needed to be relocated as city was planning a major event
Bear eating berries Britt Sandberg photo (2)
A bear eats berries in Port Coquitlam.

A black bear that found itself in a stressful situation in downtown Port Coquitlam last Saturday is now in more natural surroundings. 

The large bruin was spotted in a tree next to the Gathering Place near city hall on Saturday morning — hours before thousands of people were expected to arrive for the grand opening of the Port Coquitlam Community Centre (PCCC).  

The bear climbed a tree for safety as curious onlookers watched, prompting a call to city bylaw officers, the RCMP and conservation officers. 

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Environment confirmed the bear retreated to a tree and had to be tranquilized to be moved. 

“This is a busy downtown area, and an outdoor event was also scheduled to be held nearby. Conservation officers attended and noted one large male black bear up a tree,” the spokesperson stated in an email to the Tri-City News. “The public was kept away from the immediate area for their safety”  

But conservation officers faced some difficulty in getting the bear out safely. 

Port Coquitlam Fire Rescue was called to assist and crews helped break branches to get the bruin down, as the area was too cramped to use a ladder truck. 

“The bear landed on soft dirt and leaves and was uninjured,” the spokesperson stated in an email. 

The large male black bear was then relocated to a forested area away from the city, according to the BC Conservation Officer Service. 

“The COS would like to thank our bylaw and emergency responder partners at Port Coquitlam for their assistance,” the spokesperson further added. 

Jim Peacock, who was riding by on his scooter, said he was surprised to see the bear in such a busy spot — especially on the day of the city’s party to open the new PCCC. 

“I was speculating that he was going to city hall to get a ticket [to the grand opening],” Peacock joked. 

Peacock said he was relieved to hear the bruin was OK as it was the first time the Astoria resident had seen a bear in the heart of the city. 

As this is the time of year for bears to be fattening up for hibernation, the City of Port Coquitlam is reminding people to secure their attractants.