Bears stalk landfills in Whati, Inuvik, Hay River
As the weather warms up, bears are coming out of hibernation, and in some communities in the territory those bears are heading straight to the dump.
Eight young black bears were spotted in the Whati landfill last Friday.
Senior administrative officer Larry Baran says when he went out to investigate, the bears came right up to his vehicle.
“They're not intimidated and that's the part that concerns us,” he says.
“We've had bears come into the community in the late fall when the people are drying meat and drying fish outside. The aroma carries a long distance and that invites visitors at night. This is quite unusual to see this many and some of the elders in the community are concerned about it.”
The department of Environment and Natural Resources gave the community permission to destroy five of the bears.
Leaders were concerned that the bears would travel from the dump in to town.
“We're trying to make the community safe, but I don't think anyone's happy about having to put animals down,” Baran says.
The community has plans to install an electric fence around the dump this summer.
Baran says no one has been able to say why there have been so many bears this year, but he’s worried they’re not finding enough to eat elsewhere.
A grizzly was also shot this past week near the Inuvik landfill.
Officers weren't able to chase it off, and it too was a public safety concern.
A black bear has also been spotted roaming near the Hay River landfill. However, a fire there is likely to scare any bears off, for now.