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Dog scares rice-cracker bear out of kitchen

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Whistler Cay Estates resident Erin Marof had a close encounter of the bear kind when one entered her kitchen through a screen door.

Marof had just returned from grocery shopping and was in another part of the house. "I was upstairs and I heard a big bang and I thought that a picture fell, or something... and I left it. My dog, who is 18 and very protective, started getting antsy and wanted to go downstairs," Marof explained.

When they got to the bottom of the stairs, the dog gave his familiar "bear bark," Marof said.

"When he barks like this there is always a bear around and he did this and I thought 'Oh my God,' and I poked my head around the corner and a saw the bear sitting in my kitchen trying to get into a package of rice crackers."

The dog barked and the bear ran out of the house.

Marof said the encounter, which took place on Aug. 5, lasted only three or four minutes and little damage was done apart from the food and a muddy kitchen.

She added that one of her neighbours had a similar recent experience with a bear coming into the home and stealing chocolate.

Conservation officer Tim Schumacher said Marof's encounter could have easily turned nasty:

"We just want to remind the public to keep all outdoor doors closed, make sure they're secured. If they have a lever handle, they should deadbolt it or switch it out with a knob handle so bears aren't able to push down on it," Schumacher said.

There have been other wildlife encounters in the last week in Whistler and the Conservation Officer Service wants people to think of their own safety first.

Meanwhile, people walking under the bridge that carries Lorimer Road over Fitzsimmons Creek were placed in a considerable danger on Aug. 8 after coming within two metres of a bear walking under the same bridge.

"It was obviously really close and we want to remind people not to approach wildlife. Keep your distance. Wildlife is unpredictable and they can injure or kill you," Schumacher said.

Finally, two cougars were spotted by two cyclists on the Tunnel Vision Trail and the Microwave Towers Forestry Road on Thursday, Aug. 8. The cyclists said the pair was not behaving in an aggressive way and ran off when they spotted the cyclists. There have been other sightings of cougars in that area over the summer.

Schumacher would like cougar and bear sightings called in to the toll-free RAPP line, 1-877-952-7277. It's open 24-hours a day and seven days a week.

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