A Danish birdwatcher who wandered into a berry patch that was home to a Canadian bear received some bruises and a few scrapes from the disgruntled beast.
Despite signs being posted in the area warning that it was bear country, the bird-watching tourist chose to venture into the region anyway, with scary, if somewhat predictable results.
“He was right inside an area with berry bushes, and the bear was probably feeding on berries at the time,” Kim Titchener of WildSmart, an organisation dedicated to reducing human-wildlife conflict, told Canada’s Calgary Sun.
The Dane told officials that he didn't see the bear until it was already upon him. Officials said that the the bear was most likely shocked to see a human in the berry patch, so it protected its territory.
“The bear ran at him and bit his arm,” said Titchener. “It tore his jacket, and he has bruising. He’s really lucky.”
Since there were no witnesses, officials could not say for sure if the man had actually been bitten by the bear, or even which type of bear it was.
The victim, who responded to the original Canadian news item, could only say that the bear was “brown”.
“Being the Danish birdwatcher who had the encounter with the bear in Canmore last evening I would just like to make a few comments,” said Torben Lund. “I admit to having overlooked the warning sign, since I am not familiar with the area,other than that I think it was just bad luck.”
Could go badly for the bear
The attack – be it a paw swipe or bite – ripped open the man’s jacket and caused minor abrasions on his arm. His jacket is being tested to help identify the type of bear involved.
Although the tourist walked away shaken but alive, the bear – if it can be identified – may not be so lucky.
Having showed aggression, it will be trapped, tested and moved or perhaps euthanised.
“The sad thing is, the bear suffers – hopefully it ends up released, and not euthanised, because this is not the bear’s fault,” said Titchener.
The area is currently closed to humans, and traps have been set in the area in the hope of catching the bear.
Dave Dickson, a Canadian Fish and Wildlife officer said that the fate of the bear has not been determined.
“It’s not likely an aggressive bear, and this was more likely surprised and defence behaviour,” Dickson told the Calgary Sun. “The bear was likely feeding on berries in an area of heavy vegetation, and it ran at the man out of nowhere.”