Yesterday while walking in Coquitlam Park, we had a big surprise. You may have seen the photos of the bear on the news, but we were actually there.
One of the privileges of living in British Columbia is to experience one of the most incredible landscapes in the world. Part of this experience is learning how to coexist with wild animals such as elk, cougars or bears.
Unfortunately, with massive development and the influx of immigrants, interaction between humans and wildlife is becoming more common – with the animals almost always being on the losing end.
Amazingly, the Coquitlam area, where we live, had more than 1,200 reported bear-sightings in 2013 (no wonder it’s called the bear-sighting capital of British Columbia). Every year, Kasia and I have had multiple encounters with bears. Each time we are in AWE watching these majestic animals in their natural habitat.
In most situations, bears are afraid of humans – as we are afraid of them. However, in an increasing number of cases a bear ventures too far into the city and authorities need to take action (see here).
Yesterday, we saw a local bear trapped between a busy sporting field full of children and a busy street. Terrified, he climbed a tree and spent most of the day there. Given the proximity of children and the lack of an escape route, local wildlife authorities had to take action to protect the bear and the public.
It is always a challenge to save a bear. If one gets accustomed to people’s presence it needs to be killed. In the best-case scenario, the bear is tranquillised and relocated. In this case, the bear was hanging out in the tree for many hours and fire fighters had a hard time getting him down. He was shot at least four times before he was tranquillised. Conservation officers transported him to a facility to assess his condition and they will eventually have to make a decision whether to kill the bear or relocate it.
It was a lively but very sad spectacle to watch. We may think it was the bear that ventured into our territory but the truth is that we are living in their territory. I am glad that a huge effort is being made to save these incredible animals. We owe them that, at the very least.
This reportage was shot with the Fuji X-T1 and XF 50-140mm F2.8 OIS lens. Although the lens was heavy, I enjoyed shooting with this incredibly sharp lens. All images were shot from the hand, my favourite way of working, and they turned out very well, thanks to the inner workings of the image stabilization system (OIS). All images processed in Lightroom 6, Classic Chrome film simulation.
2015 © Kasia & Olaf Sztaba Photography. All rights reserved.