A fox near Yellowknife's city hall in June 2021. Sarah Pruys/Cabin Radio
Following an influx in non-emergency calls to wildlife emergency lines, the Department of Environment and Natural Resourcesissued a news release explaining the difference between a wildlife emergencyand non-emergency.
The statement explained knowing what a wildlife emergency is is crucial to ensuring that on-call officers aren’t called to non-emergencies, which increases their workload and could mean they are delayed in responding to real emergencies.
What is a wildlife emergency?
According to ENR, an emergency is “anything that puts people at risk,” such as a bear, wolf, lynx, or wolverine in town. In the case of a sighting outside of town, it is only considered an emergency if the animal is displaying aggressive or predatory behaviour.
People are also encouraged to report dead or injured animals that may impact public safety such as a dead moose blocking a road; a dead migratory bird that may be carrying a disease; or an animal that is behaving strangely, as it may have rabies.
What isn’t a wildlife emergency?
ENR says not to call them if you see an animal acting normally and “where it’s supposed to be.”
This includes sightings such as a fox in town or a bison on the side of the highway.
The department also noted a bear sighting is not considered an emergency if the bear does not approach anyone or act in a predatory way.
Sick, dead, or injured animals that do not pose as a risk to public safety are also not classified as wildlife emergencies. Though these sightings may be reported to regional ENR office during regular business hours, ENR asks that residents to not report them as emergencies.
Numbers to call to report a wildlife emergency in your region can be found on the ENR website.