Photographer to blame for scary bear encounter, says Yukon wildlife official

A photographer had a scary encounter outside Whitehorse, as a grizzly mom did a 'bluff charge.' A Yukon wildlife official says it's not the bear's fault.

Roadside grizzly reported to have 'bluff charged' after photographer got too close

'In this case, clearly it's the individual that's in the wrong,' said conservation officer David Bakica. 'I feel like we shouldn't have to say this, but I do say it: don't approach bears.' (Philippe Morin/CBC)

A photographer outside Whitehorse recently had a scary encounter with a grizzly bear on Thursday, but wildlife officials are saying don't blame the bear.  

"We had a report that somebody had stopped along the highway, had seen a cub and grizzly bear, and started to approach them to take photographs," said David Bakica, a Yukon conservation officer. 

"Obviously, the sow got a little fed up and annoyed with what was happening, and did a 'bluff charge'. Thankfully, it was a bluff charge."

No injuries were reported after the encounter, according to Environment Yukon.

Bakica said a bluff charge is normal behaviour for a mother grizzly. He said the photographer should have known better. 

"I mean in this case, clearly it's the individual that's in the wrong. I feel like we shouldn't have to say this, but I do say it: don't approach bears." 

Bakica said the incident happened outside Whitehorse, but wouldn't say exactly where — he doesn't want more photographers rushing to the site to spot bears.

The incident alone isn't enough for Environment Yukon to consider relocating the bear or putting it down.