Joliffe Island helicopter searches for bear

Residents spotted a helicopter circling above Joliffe Island after a black bear was seen swimming to shore near the houseboats. (Courtesy of Mary Cox)

A black bear spotted in Yellowknife's Old Town Friday afternoon is now swimming away. 

Wildlife officials with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources tracked the animal to Joliffe Island, where it came on land and then jumped in the water again. 

At approximately 4 p.m. MT., the bear was swimming east towards the mainland and the road to Dettah.

A spokesperson for the department says they're giving the bear an escort. Boaters for the department are making sure it swims the entire way. 

Residents also spotted a helicopter circling above Joliffe Island. 

Yellowknife resident Katie O'Beirne heard about the bear when she walking near Pilot's Monument. She says officials stopped her group and told them to get inside. 

O'Beirne spotted the animal for herself from the window of her office in Old Town and watched it climb onto Joliffe Island. 

"It must have gotten in the water near the Government Docks or a little north of there. It went on land, right by a blue and gray houseboat near the northern side of the channel."

She described the animal as "bigger than a large dog" and swimming quickly. 

If you saw the bear, please send your photos and videos to webnorth@cbc.ca.