Multiple bear encounters have been reported to Environment and Natural Resources over the last few days.
On August 31st, officers responded to a sighting in the parking lot of the Stanton Territorial Parking Lot. An officer patrolled and worked with hospital staff to limit use of the sliding doors and encourage staff and patients to limit their time outside while the officers are responding unless going directly to vehicles.
Other sightings have come in from the various networks of walking trails around Yellowknife, including a report from an individual approached by two bears with little fear shown. As a result of location of the various sightings at multiple areas in the trails system, including Frame Lake, Tin Can Hill, and near the airport.
ENR recommends avoiding these areas if you can, especially after dark, until further updates are provided. ENR officers are patrolling on-foot and by quad in the trail system, and signage is up in areas where we know there have been bear sightings. Given bear activity in the area and the time of year, it is important for people to be bear aware in all areas in and around the city.
If you do use the trail system or must go in areas where bears have been reported, be vigilant, carry bear spray or bear bangers if you can, travel in groups wherever possible, keep your kids close, do not let your pets off-leash, and know what to do when you come across a bear.
There are several tips to use during a face to face encounter with a bear:
- Stand your ground – don’t make any sudden moves, back up slowly, and avoid direct eye contact
- Make yourself look as big as possible – consider getting to higher ground if you can
- Yell as loud as you can and tell it not to come back. Bang together sticks or other loud items and wave your arms slowly
- Leave a route for the bear to escape
- Get your bear spray ready and spray the bear directly in the face if it charges.
Once you are safe, contact ENR at 867-873-7181 as soon as possible to get officers on the scene quickly.