Two Idaho sightseers wanted to see wildlife on a recent trip to Radium Hot Springs, British Columbia, along the BC-Alberta line. Did they ever! The couple was driving a pickup truck along Highway 93 when they spotted a bicyclist heading their way, fast. It wasn’t until they saw what was behind him that his need for speed became clear.
A young grizzly bear, known to local authorities as Bear 148, was hot on the cyclist’s trail.
“I was sitting in the passenger seat and had my cell phone and had been taking scenic pictures all the way,” Cassie Beyer told CBC News. She continued taking pictures as the chase unfolded, snapping the above image during the process.
Another driver began honking their horn at the bear, allowing Beyer’s husband to put their truck between the cyclist and Bear 148. With the cyclist safe, the couple then headed on down the road.
This wasn’t the first encounter with humans Bear 148 has had this year. The young sow has chased a woman who was pushing a stroller and walking her dog; has interrupted a rugby event at a nearby high school; and has followed a number of hikers. She was relocated to nearby Kootenay National Park earlier in July but returned to Radium within two days.
As amazing as the bear’s brazenness is, the public’s outcry over the incident is even more so. Locals are organizing protests against the Alberta government’s decision to euthanize the bear if any more incidents occur, despite the many close calls people have had with 148 in 2017.
“If she wanted to kill people and dogs, she could have killed people and dogs already,” Banff resident Bree Todd told CBC. “We want this bear alive, we want this bear protected.”
Todd helped create a petition opposing the euthanization, which has already garnered some 4,000 signatures. While wildlife officials don’t want to kill the bear, keeping the public safe is of paramount importance, and there aren’t many options left for dealing with 148.