(Files by Dione Wearmouth-MyPGNow)
Melanie Porter is warning residents in the area to remain cautious of bears after a close encounter at her home in the Uplands area of Quesnel on Thursday night.
Porter says she was sitting on her porch step having a cigarette around 9:30 in the dark when a bear came up and licked her hand.
“I just saw something black, out of the corner of my eye and then about two feet away I just looked over and saw the bear and it was heading right towards me and I was like oh my goodness, like what do I do?” she explained.
She had no idea what to do and wondered whether or not she should run away, however, Porter decided to sit completely still as she didn’t want to spook the animal.
“It was just sheer panic, so I just stayed still, held my breath and the bear came up in front of me and then kind of went around the right side and licked my hand,” she said.
“He went in for a second lick and his mouth was open a little and I was just like oh no no! So I just kind of pulled my hand back and that kind of startled him a bit and that’s when he backed up and was on his hind legs with his arms kind of crouched in.”
Porter says she thought she was going to die, especially since her friends’ brother was killed in a bear attack several years ago in Mackenzie.
She is now reminding residents to protect themselves by keeping an eye out for wildlife, especially at night.
“When I was talking to my neighbors afterward, she sent me a video clip, so I have a tree that’s in my yard about 10 feet away from my porch and of course my yards completely dark and the bear was actually standing up against the tree but he was so quiet I didn’t hear anything at all and he was there the entire time while I was outside and I didn’t see or hear him.”
Any human-wildlife interactions that may pose a threat to public safety can be reported to the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) line at 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP).
The Northern Bear Awareness Society reminds residents to manage bear attractants by taking some steps listed on their website, such as keeping garbage indoors or in a bear-resistant closed shed.