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Bear bites tourist in village

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A black bear was killed last weekend after chomping at an Australian tourist in the village early Saturday morning.

The incident occurred at around 2:30 a.m., just as bars were letting out in the village. The tourist found himself in close proximity to a large, adult male black bear, who bit the tourist in the leg as he went by. The tourist sustained minor injuries.

An officer with the B.C. Conservation Officer Service (COS) located the bear in the village shortly after the incident, but was unable to remove it at that time.

The bear returned to the village that night at around 10 p.m. and it was shot at the driving range near the Coast Hotel, across from the Hilton, according to the COS’ Chris Doyle.

“It just returned to the village and was in Sundial and we got a call that it was there,” he said. “We think it’s a bear that had been in the village for a few nights previous to the incident and we think it’s a bear that had been in the village in the spring as well.”

This is the 12th bear to be killed in Whistler since they awoke from hibernation in the spring. Nine bears have been destroyed by the B.C. Conservation Officer Service after conflicts with humans, while three others were killed in accidents. One was killed after being hit by a train, while another was killed when hit by a car on Highway 99.

Yet another bear was killed near Whistler Secondary School in early May.

This is, however, the first recorded encounter between bears and humans in the Whistler Village this year, according to Doyle. But it’s not likely to be the last.

“Last year there was quite a few (in the village) and we can expect to see more in the fall, especially in October and November,” he said. “Because the berry crops are done in October or November… the bears will be looking for other food sources.

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