A woman in Kimberly, British Columbia says she is thankful that her family is safe after a break-in by a grizzly bear that resulted in it being shot dead.
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Early Sunday morning, Niki Traverse was jolted awake by the sound of her dogs barking, and when she got up to investigate the source of their irritation, she found herself face-to-face with a male grizzly in her kitchen.
“It was 10 feet from our son’s bedroom door,” she told CTV News. “I ran back into our bedroom to grab my husband and say, ‘There’s a bear in the house, there’s a bear in the house!’”
Her husband, Mark, is an avid hunter and kept his guns locked in the bedroom. He quickly armed himself and headed into the kitchen corridor to confront the animal, and that was when he made the decision to flick on the light switch. The lights distracted the bear from the pet food it had been eating and it quickly refocused on the armed man standing just feet away.
“As soon as he turned on the light, it came into the kitchen and charged at him,” Niki Traverse told the Canadian Press.
Her husband fired off two quick shots from his firearm, which sent the bear crashing into the kitchen floor. When he stopped to reload, Traverse recalled the animal still attempting to move towards him. A third and final shot finished the bear off.
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“Just glad it went down the way it did and nothing else happened,” Mark Traverse told the CBC.
“I just freaking lost it […] I was so scared,” his wife added. “I don’t eat the meat, but thank God I am married to a hunter.”
Wildlife officials arrived to retrieve the bear and confirmed it as a grizzly. According to conservation officers, the bear appeared to be a malnourished 15-year-old male that seemed to be in bad health. The bruin was underweight, had low body fat, and there were patches in its coat that were bald. That may explain why it had invited itself in the Traverse family’s kitchen and started gobbling down pet food. Even in small mountain communities like Kimberley, bears will avoid humans whenever they can. Experts also say that black bears are much more likely to break into houses than grizzlies.
“This bear didn’t learn to do this this morning. This was a previously learned behaviour that lead to this point,” said conservation officer Jared Connatty.
The Traverse family said that while they may not be sleeping well, they are at least thankful their dogs woke them up before the bear decided to venture into one of the bedrooms.