Some Cochrane residents said they feel like prisoners in their own homes after two grizzly bears roamed through their neighbourhood over the weekend. A Fish and Wildlife official said one bear had been tranquilized Monday afternoon, but couldn’t confirm if it was the same one seen on the weekend.
Dana Hill lives in the area, and said she doesn’t feel comfortable letting her kids outside, despite the two traps she’s put up.
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“It’s been very unnerving—really scary,” she said. “You kind of feel like you are a criminal in your own house because you can’t go outside with the little kids. It is very frustrating.”
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She watched the bears on Friday and Saturday as they jumped on her hot tub, ripped apart the compost, chewed up a bike seat and tore open the screen of her chicken coop. The chickens got off lucky compared to two that were devoured at her neighbours’ place on Saturday.
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“I feel that it’s now had food sources from all over our neighbourhoods and now it’s just a matter of time before he gets hungry and wants to come back and doesn’t need the food that’s in the traps,” Hill said.
One bear was trapped on Hill’s property on Friday and now she and her neighbours are left wondering why officials didn’t take the other bear when residents said it was in full view.
“It would’ve been nice if they could have—once they caught the first bear, if they tranquilized the second bear, put him in a trap and then moved him west,” said Elaine Wood, who lives next to a property with bear traps. “Seems to me that would’ve been the best solution.”
But Fish and Wildlife spokesperson Brendan Cox said officers couldn’t get close enough to safely tranquilize the bear at that time.
“Circumstances were such that any attempts to immobilize the bear may have agitated it, which could have resulted in a greater public safety risk,” Cox wrote in an email to Global News Monday.
Wood said she’s frustrated about the lack of updates provided to the neighbourhood.
“I have had zero information except by email from my neighbours,” Wood said. “That’s kind of frustrating because we are living here with the bears at the moment. And it would be nice to know what is happening.”
Hill is now carrying bear spray, per the advice of Fish and Wildlife officials. A snare trap has been set up on the property where the bear ate the chickens.
Cox said a bear was tranquilized Monday at 2 p.m. west of Tuscany in the Blueridge Rise area. Cox called it a “sub-adult male” weighing about 225 pounds.
“Officers are working to determine whether this male bear is the same one that was previously seen with the female in the Cochrane area,” Cox wrote in an email to Global News.