The Town of Hay River advised residents to keep their garbage locked away as a number of bears have been coming into the community.
On Monday, NNSL reported several Hay River residents have seen bears in town this summer. In a Facebook post, the municipality reminded residents that garbage containers should be placed at pick-up locations by 8am on collection day and removed by 8am the following morning.
Until then, the town said, garbage should be kept inside.
Jessica Davey-Quantick, a spokesperson for the territorial Department of Environment and Natural Resources, told Cabin Radio the department has received several reports in recent days of bears targeting garbage cans in Hay River.
Davey-Quantick said a black bear had also been spotted at Paradise Garden and Garden Road, and a sow and three cubs were seen at Alexandra Falls.
Wildlife officers are actively patrolling and have set up traps in Woodland Drive and at the Kátł’odeeche First Nation reserve. More traps will be moved from Fort Smith to Hay River, Davey-Quantick said.
According to the department, the number of bears relocated or killed in the NWT this year is similar to previous years. A string of recent bear killings by wildlife officers has led to questions about how bears can be best managed. Most experts agree that while shooting a bear is a last resort, relocation is not always the best solution and prevention is key.
“Our preferred method is to deter or relocate wild animals when possible, but public safety is our first priority – particularly when children and families are nearby,” Davey-Quantick said.
The Town of Hay River did not immediately respond a request for comment.