Bears across Yellowknife prompt ENR warning for some areas
Wildlife officers are advising Yellowknife residents to avoid significant areas of the city’s trail system after multiple sightings of bears in recent days.
A spokesperson for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources said bear sightings had been reported along stretches of the Frame Lake trail, at Tin Can Hill and near Yellowknife’s airport.
“ENR recommends avoiding these areas if you can, especially after dark, until further updates are provided,” spokesperson Mike Westwick said by email.
Bear sightings have also been reported in Dettah. The rash of sightings follows news earlier this week that a bear broke into a home on Yellowknife’s Forrest Drive before being put down by a wildlife officer.
On Wednesday afternoon, Westwick wrote, officers had responded to reports of a bear in the parking lot of Yellowknife’s Stanton Territorial Hospital.
“We recognize these situations are very stressful but encourage people to stay calm, avoid the area if possible, and please follow all instructions from ENR officers and security on site,” he wrote.
Reports from Yellowknife’s trail network include an individual who said they were approached by two bears “with little fear shown.”
On Wednesday, ENR officers could be seen patrolling the Frame Lake trail using a quad and on foot.
“Signage is up in areas where we know there have been bear sightings,” Westwick wrote.
“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.”
Bear sightings in late summer and early fall are inevitable across much of the NWT, and similar sightings are regularly reported in Facebook groups or spread by word of mouth in smaller communities.
In 2021, 124 bears in the territory were killed by wildlife officers and nine were relocated.