Black bear killed after getting too close to Colwood school

A black bear was shot and killed after it ventured into the playing fields at Sangster Elementary School on Metchosin Road on Thursday.

Conservation officer Peter Pauwels said they had tried to tranquillize the bear earlier, but decided to kill it due to its proximity to people.

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About 300 students from kindergarten to Grade 6 were in the Colwood elementary school at the time.

The bear was “right in the field and it looked like it was thinking about going into Royal Roads,” Pauwels said. “If it gets into Royal Roads, there’s people in there.”

Wildlife issues have come up in that part of the West Shore before, he said.

“It’s not the first time we’ve gone in that area, but it’s the first time we’ve actually got one on the school grounds like that.”

Residents reported seeing the bear about 7 a.m. at Dunsmuir Middle School, which is less than one kilometre from Sangster.

Pauwels said it was the same bear seen in the area on Tuesday.

“It was running through yards on Triangle Mountain, and we attended and tried to move it on,” he said. “We tried to tranquillize it and weren’t able to. We were hoping it was going to leave the area on its own.”

Sooke school district superintendent Jim Cambridge said classes went on as scheduled.

Students and many parents were in the gymnasium when the bear was killed.

“It was in a safe place to do it, it was in the back of the school grounds,” Cambridge said of the shooting.

“Mostly parents knew because the principal had already sent information out to them,” he said. “We just had [the students] in the gymnasium until the bear was taken away.”

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