Environment

Bear and cub put down after second trip into NWT mine camp

Last modified: September 15, 2020 at 2:57pm


A bear that wandered the cafeteria of a Northwest Territories diamond mine on the weekend returned to the camp on Monday and was subsequently put down.

Video footage emerging from the Diavik mine site showed both the bear’s initial trip to the cafeteria – having apparently made it inside via the kitchen’s external doors – and what seemed to be a second trip, this time to the gym.

People inside the mine’s recreation hall could be heard gasping as footage showed the bear pawing at the glass doors before moving on.

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In a statement to Facebook, the NWT’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) said an adult female bear had twice entered buildings. She was accompanied by a cub, who did not enter the cafeteria but “was with the female grizzly bear at the mine site.”

ENR said that the return trip on Monday “suggests the bears had become habituated to human food and activity, [posing] a serious safety issue.”

According to ENR, relocating the bears was not considered safe or practical.

“Grizzly bears have an excellent sense of smell, and often return to a site if they associate it with easy food,” the statement read.

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“The bear carcasses will be transported to ENR’s North Slave regional office for further analysis.”

Earlier on Tuesday, a Diavik spokesperson had confirmed the bear’s return to the main camp.

The spokesperson said Diavik’s environment team, in consultation with territorial wildlife officers, “examined all options to prevent further intrusions and came to the conclusion that the bear and her cub had to be put down. Our top priority is always the safety of our employees, and unfortunately, this was the only solution to keep our employees safe.”

Bears are not uncommon at the NWT’s mine sites, but rarely do they manage to access indoor living areas.

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