A British Columbia man says he sees black bears every day at his job, but he says an encounter he saw last week caused him to whip out his phone so that he could capture it on camera.
Chris Sroka was on a chairlift at the Whistler Mountain Bike Park when he saw two black bears acting strangely.
In the video, Sroka captures a large black bear chasing another black bear before one flies over the edge of a dirt bike path. The bears fight for a few more seconds before finally taking a breather.
"I don't know how to describe it. It was just a weird bear scenario when you've seen them so much," he says.
The video, which was posted to Sroka’s TikTok account @_sro, has reached over 366K views and nearly 19K likes. He says he also posted it to Instagram and those views are "climbing like crazy" with nearly a million views by Tuesday afternoon.
"It's funny. It's just most people [...] no one's really seen that type of footage, especially in the open in Whistler," he says. "I think that's why people are like 'wow it's pretty interesting to see that.'"
Bears are “pretty common to see” on B.C. mountain
Sroka works as a marketing manager at Whistler Blackcomb and says he comes across black bears so frequently at his workplace that he rarely films them anymore.
“They just kind of do their own thing and as long as you don't get in between them and their cubs, there's not really a real danger,” he adds.
Sroka says he typically sees a mom and cubs or a lone bear, but never two adult bears together like in the video.
"We see bears all the time. I've just never seen them fight or run after each other," he says. “They just bolted, both just sprinted and I've never seen a bear sprint before. As soon as that happened I was like oh, something's gonna happen," he explains during his interview with Yahoo Canada.
An animal expert speculates the bears were possibly having a conflict, but says it's "hard to know definitively."
"Bears, like many other animals, have conflicts with each other and may challenge each other over use of space, or it could be a female protecting her offspring," Vanessa Isnardy, project manager with WildSafeBC, says in an email.
TikTok video garners a lot of reaction
Thousands of people are reacting to the video on TikTok, many applauding Sroka for his timing.
“Never seen that before,” one person writes.
“What a video. Great timing,” writes another.
“Unreal footage,” one comment reads.
Others are taking a more humoured approach.
“Man the locals are wild,” one person writes.
“He could bear-ly handle that landing,” another one reads.
Whistler is home to various species of bears
Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains are home to up to 60 black bears and cubs that have adapted to living within ski area habitats.
"The habitat under the chairlift is ideal for bears with many sources of food and berry-producing bushes," Isnardy notes. "Viewing bears from the chairlift is one of the safest ways to view bears."
The municipality of Whistler website says it's not uncommon to see black bears while you're exploring the trails. It also lists tips on how to be bear safe in case a bear is nearby.
If you're interested in seeing black bears, Whistler also offers bear viewing tours where you travel in a 4X4 vehicle with experienced guides.