It was first mentioned on the Sooke News Mirror Facebook fan page (www.facebook.com/SookeNewsMirror).
“Anyone missing a pig?” asked Jodi Pollner on September 11. “There’s one running around sunriver estates. Demamiel drive area.”
By Friday, September 13, the story got bigger. On assignment at EMCS, someone in the office mentioned that this pig was torn and bloodied, possibly by an encounter with a bear.
So we contacted the Conservation Officer Service.
“I do know that a bear broke into a pig enclosure and attacked a pig,” confirmed conservation officer Scott Norris from the Service, “and I guess the farmer tried to intervene a little bit, and the bear dropped the pig. And the bear took off. And the pig was running loose. We have a trap set hoping to catch the bear, and we’ll see what comes of that.”
According to the incident report, the farmer did have an electric fence, but there was a hole in it, and it is now being repaired. Electric fences are generally very effective in keeping bears out, noted Norris.
That the bear had not been captured in two days may indicate that this bear is not habituated, which is a good sign. For the bear.
At this time of year, noted Norris, bears are very busy foraging for any and all food sources in preparation for the long barren winter. People should keep garbage inside until the morning of garbage pickup, and should ensure that fallen fruit is immediately picked up and discarded.
“Sooke always has bear issues,” said Norris. Residents should “lock up all attractants, whether it’s their livestock or pet food or their bird seed or their garbage. Fruit trees at this time of year are a big issue.”
These precautions can prevent a bear from being habituated. Habituated bears are usually killed.
Bear sightings should be phoned in to the Conservation Office at 1-877-952-7277