A black bear was put down by RCMP officers near Yellowknife’s NJ Macpherson School after multiple sightings over the weekend.
The territory’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) said a black bear was first seen on Saturday night in the Frame Lake area. Wildlife officers lost track of the bear as it moved behind Con Mine.
A day later, ENR received more reports of a black bear in the area of Finlayson Drive and Kam Lake.
Wildlife officers and RCMP found the bear at an apartment complex near the school. RCMP officers were able to put down the bear after it moved away from people and buildings.
An image submitted by a Yellowknife resident shows the black bear later shot by RCMP officers on Sunday evening.
The department said it could not confirm whether the bear killed on Sunday evening was the same bear sighted on Saturday. ENR noted some residents had reported hearing gunfire or bear bangers on Saturday night, but said staff did not use any weapon or bear banger that night “and are not aware of any shots fired by RCMP.”
“We live in bear country, and it is not uncommon for black bears to travel along the perimeter of Yellowknife,” said ENR in a statement to Cabin Radio.
ENR representative Chris Tourangeau said most bears seen in Yellowknife are on the city’s outskirts, but urban sightings aren’t uncommon.
“It is possible, and Yellowknife offers quite a few attractants to a bear trying to establish itself,” Tourangeau said, adding that bears in residential areas are difficult to handle.
“Our number one priority is safety for the public, human safety, and there are a lot of factors in an urban environment that can play into that,” he said.
“It’s extremely difficult and we have to be very careful about what we’re doing.”
A 24-hour emergency hotline exists for reporting wildlife sightings in the North Slave: call (867) 873-7181.