The territorial government’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) is reporting that at least ten problem bears have been put down by their officers and private citizens in several communities in the Northwest Territories over the past week.
ENR spokesperson Meagan Wohlberg told CKLB Monday afternoon that three grizzly bears were shot and killed by ENR officers in the MacKenzie Delta community of Aklavik over the weekend.
She confirmed the information MLA for the region Frederick “Sonny” Blake shared with the Legislative Assembly earlier in the day.
Blake said in the assembly last week that residents’ safety is at risk with more than a dozen grizzlies hanging around the dump in Aklavik for some time now.
Wohlberg went on to state in an email that ENR received a report from Wekweeti residents on August 12 about three black bears attempting to enter homes and posing a danger to people and pets in that Tlicho community.
“The North Slave Region arranged for a Renewable Resource Officer to be sent to the community, but travel was delayed for two days due to weather. During this time, ENR kept in contact with concerned community members and the decision was made to safely destroy two of the bears on their own without ENR assistance, and report the destroyed bears to ENR,” Wohlberg stated in an email. “The Renewable Resource Officer arrived in the community on Aug. 15 and attempted to deter the third bear with rubber bullets, but the same bear was found near the community on Aug. 17. The officer proceeded to put it down, as it was considered a threat to public safety.”
CKLB has also learned that two black bears were destroyed Friday night by private citizens in Whati after they had wandered into the community.
These destroyed bears, along with a grizzly and a black bear put down by ENR officers near Tulita where a man was killed by a grizzly last Thursday, along with at least two other bears earlier this summer bring the number of bears destroyed in the NWT this season to at least 12.
It’s not yet clear if that number is high or low compared to recent years.
Wohlberg said Monday that ENR had not yet received any reports of black bears killed last week in Whati.
“Anyone who kills a bear in self-defense must report the incident to a Renewable Resource Officer as soon as possible and provide an explanation of the incident, the date and location of the incident, and any other information requested by an officer,” Wohlberg said.