While many folks had turkey on their mind over Thanksgiving, a small bear in Lake Cowichan was craving something a little sweeter as he sauntered into Lake Cowichan’s Tiptons Gas Bar on North Shore Road on Oct. 9 at 6:30 a.m.
Co-owner of the Vancouver Island gas bar Jay deGoesbriand was enjoying his morning cup of joe behind the counter when he noticed “Yogi” from the security camera make his way into their store. Bears are known for their great sense of smell which enable them to pick up scents from a great distance. Where Jay was positioned he was unable to really go anywhere, so he kept cool as as a cucumber. Jay’s wife Karen was supposed to be on shift that morning but was at home under the weather. The deGoesbriands have been the owners of the gas bar since 2007.
“If I had been there I would have not handled the situation with as much ease as Jay did,” said Karen deGoesbriand.
The bear’s sticky paws were caught on the security camera at Tiptons as it showed him making his way around the ice cream and bait fridge and candy bar, and chip rack. Karen told the Gazette that the bear did not make any aggressive moves.
“Jay told me, even though he was a little bear, he was careful not to make any sudden or loud moves,” said deGoesbriand.
After spending nearly 10 minutes in the store, something must have caught his eye on the package, as he ended up deciding on a package of gummy bears, which he took out to the parking lot to enjoy. A loss both owners were happy to grin, and bear. Out of all the visitors that the deGoesbriands have seen over the years, this is their first bear, and as much as they are avid wildlife lovers, they are urging people to be cautious and diligent.
“Even though this bear looks cute and cuddly it is still an unpredictable wild animal,” said deGoesbriand. “We have a lot of people from the city that have moved out here that still don’t know about securing your garbage and things like that, so it is important that we educate them, and get the message across that we must respect our wildlife.”