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Injured black bear eludes officers

Jun 21 2012

An injured black bear was believed to be hunkered down in a forest just off the Trans-Canada Highway in View Royal Wednesday afternoon, after being struck by a southbound car and chased in circles by hounds.

Conservation officer Peter Pauwels was unable to corner the bruin due to thick brush and believed it would wait until nightfall to move into deeper woods.

"The bear was in there and probably still is," said Pauwels after suspending the chase at 3 p.m.

A witness said the bear appeared to be seriously injured by the car and crawled away from the area about 10: 40 a.m.

The tracking hounds arrived two hours later and picked up the bear's scent right away, Pauwels said.

"What ended up happening is we chased the bear around and around in the bush. At one point, I did get a very good look at it and it was running and did not appear to be limping - it appeared to be in pretty good shape."

The bear easily outdistanced the hounds and conservation officers chasing it, giving Pauwels the impression that any injuries were minor.

The bear was first reported on Wednesday swimming near the Six Mile bridge at 7 a.m. Several people called West Shore RCMP and 911 to report the bear on the Old Island Highway.

As a result of the chase, children at Eagle View Elementary, located at 97 Talcott Rd., off Watkiss Way, spent the day indoors.

"We are not in lockdown," said principal Brent DeNat. "It's just an indoor day. We are erring on the side of caution."

On Tuesday, the bear was spotted around Esquimalt Lagoon and Royal Roads University. Military police, the Environment Ministry, RCMP and 911 were called.

"It's probably going to find its way out of civilization - That's what we're hoping will happen," Pauwels said.

ceharnett@timescolonist.com

smcculloch@timescolonist.com

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