An incident in which a wildlife officer reportedly shot a Fort Simpson resident while trying to subdue a bear is now the subject of an internal NWT government investigation.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) said the investigation into its officer’s actions would determine “whether the officer followed appropriate policies and procedures.”
Police are also investigating Friday’s incident.
According to RCMP reports and residents, a wildlife officer had been aiming to shoot a troublesome bear in the community but appeared to inadvertently hit a nearby man instead.
The man, who has not been publicly identified, was taken to Yellowknife with a bullet wound that was not life-threatening.
The department confirmed the bear had been “humanely destroyed later that evening by the RCMP.” A wildlife pathologist from the University of Calgary is heading to Fort Simpson to assist with a necropsy of the bear, a department spokesperson said.
“Public safety is always the main priority for ENR when responding to problem wildlife or wildlife-human conflicts,” the spokesperson wrote in an email to Cabin Radio on Monday.
“Under the Wildlife Act, a problem bear may be destroyed if it endangers public safety or property, or if it is wounded or diseased.
“Our standard operating procedure dictates that lethal removal activities should be conducted away from the public where possible. However, in any incident where imminent threat to public health or safety exists, any appropriate and necessary action may be applied.”