The shooting of a bear that attacked an Australian tourist in the Canadian ski resort village of Whistler has sparked outrage among locals and animal lovers.

The 25-year-old Australian suffered minor injuries when he was bitten on the leg by the black bear after a crowd converged on the animal to take pictures of it.

The bear wandered into Whistler’s Village Square, a popular site for tourists and locals, to look for food in garbage tins on Saturday.

“A crowd had gathered around the bear and was taking pictures,” Sylvia Dolson, of the Get Bear Smart Society, told Vancouver’s The Province newspaper.

“The fellow was in the way when the bear wanted to escape.

“He kind of got snagged.”

Canadian conservation officers shot and killed the bear on Sunday when it appeared it was heading back into Whistler.

The Australian’s name was not released.

“It was a minor injury,” conservation officer Chris Doyle said of the Australian’s injury.

“The tourist was not hospitalised.”

Upset readers flooded The Province newspaper’s website questioning why the bear was killed when it was members of the public that closed in on the animal.

“These idiots were surrounding a wild animal to take bloody pictures and they got what they deserved – the bear fought back,” one reader wrote.

Another wrote: “Well this ‘tourist’ managed to get a death sentence pronounced on this bear”.