A black bear discovered wandering near Behchokǫ̀ has been successfully relocated, the second such relocation reported by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in a week.
After a summer in which residents queried the number of bears reportedly killed by wildlife officers, the department celebrated the latest relocation by publishing video of the bear’s release on social media.
Mike Westwick, a spokesperson for the department, told Cabin Radio by email that the animal had been seen several times since September 5. A live trap was subsequently set up and the bear successfully caught.
“The bear was a 102-kg healthy adult male with a significant malformation of the jaw and upper left lip, likely associated with an old injury,” Westwick wrote.
“This didn’t slow the bear down, though. He appeared to be coping quite well and was in good shape for this time of year.”
In a Facebook post, the department said the bear’s health and apparent lack of habituation – there were no signs it was accustomed to the community or humans – meant it could be safely relocated.
The video shows the bear gingerly stepping out of a trailer. Once the animal gets its bearings, so to speak, it makes a dash for the nearby bush.
Westwick said the bear is being tracked by the department via GPS to “see how he does and where he travels to next.”
This is the second bear relocation in a week.
A bear and two cubs were moved after taking up residence in the dumpsters of Yellowknife’s Copperhouse restaurant – a process that required rubber bullets, tranquilizers, and hours of coaxing and tracking.
In early August, Cabin Radio asked an NWT wildlife officer, black bear advocates, and experts in Canada and Alaska to explain why some bears are killed and not relocated.