Bear totals Maple Ridge man’s car


A bear recently destroyed a Maple Ridge student’s car in Silver Valley.

Stefan Halas lives just off Silver Valley Road, near UBC’s Malcolm Knapp Research Forest, and drove out of his house on Saturday to find his Mazda 3 had suffered a bear attack.

There are telltale dirty paw marks on all the doors, and three of the sedan’s doors were lifted and bent at the top, as the bear apparently tried to open them.

“He tried every angle to get in,” Halas said, examining the scratches and prints on that car.

A pile of glass is near the passenger side door, as the window apparently shattered and fell to the ground when the determined bear worked on this entrance.

The bear then jumped inside and got to work opening an interior console, leaving it in pieces.

Halas plays volleyball for the University of the Cascades in the Fraser Valley, and players receive BioSteel sports drink crystals. He thinks the bruise was after that, or the remains of a lunch that was in a plastic container on the passenger side.

“It shows their amazing sense of smell,” Halas said.

It’s a 2012 car that’s already been rebuilt, doesn’t have much value, and it looks like ICBC is about to declare the car written off rather than have it repaired. It’s disappointing for Halas who predicts he will struggle to replace a vehicle that was such a bargain.

Bear sightings are commonplace in his neighborhood.

“Around here, we are not afraid of bears. They are local people and we must respect them.

The burglary was a slap in the face moment for Halas. He studies environmental science at UFV, and his summer job with the Mission City Environmental Services Department was to educate people about the importance of limiting bear attractants, using bear-proof trash cans, keeping pet food out, picking up fruit that falls from trees, and other measures.

Still, he was surprised that a bear was so determined to break into a car, and Halas wondered if environmental conditions, such as autumnal drought and later salmon runs, had limited their food supply. .

That’s the opinion of conservation officer Jolene Bull, who said drought can impair a bear’s ability to locate natural food sources to further prepare for hibernation. There is a direct correlation between the amount of food available in a bear’s fat stores and the number of offspring she can produce.

“In times of drought, as we’ve seen in the Lower Mainland, wild plants and berries can become less palatable to bears, reducing the number of natural food sources available,” Bull told Black Press Media. .

She said the improper storage of trash and compost, along with the density of the agricultural industry in the Lower Mainland, makes it easy for bears to acquire the fat stores needed to stay healthy.

“However, it can lead to disturbing habitual behaviors,” added Bull.

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Bear paw prints visible in the dust on the door. (Neil Corbett/The News)

The bear tried to enter from the driver's side, but despite lifting the top of the door, he got through to the other side.  (Neil Corbett/The News)

The bear tried to enter from the driver’s side, but despite lifting the top of the door, he got through to the other side. (Neil Corbett/The News)

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