North

Goodbye winter, hello mama! N.W.T. residents encounter moose, bear families

A woman in Fort Resolution came very close to a mama black bear and her three cubs, while in Inuvik, a few people near the hospital got a glimpse of a mama moose and her calf.

'So then when she got close... she plopped down and sat down in front of me'

Here's a screen shot from a video taken by Gail Beaulieu. She was driving from Hay River to Fort Resolution, N.W.T., when she came across the mama bear and her three cubs. 'So then when she got close, right on my right bumper, she plopped down and sat down in front of me,' Beaulieu said. (Gail Beaulieu)

Three cubs and a mama bear: not always a scenario you want to run into.

But when Gail Beaulieu was driving from Hay River to her home in Fort Resolution, N.W.T., she didn't have much of a choice.

"They were just starting to cross the road," Beaulieu said, describing when she first noticed the bears about 500 metres in front of her vehicle.

Beaulieu says she's "been around a lot of bears" and says black bears are often more afraid of people than people should be of them. She expected this mama and cubs to carry on into the woods.

But that didn't happen right away.

"As I slowed and kept, sort of, inching toward them, the mother bear noticed me and decided that she'd come over. And she just started approaching me and the cubs were following her.

"So then when she got close, right on my right bumper she plopped down and sat down in front of me." Beaulieu says it was almost as if the bear was taking a load off after a hard day's work.

Beaulieu says she was shocked by the bear's behaviour — especially when it stood up, front paws on Beaulieu's vehicle, just looking at her.

"I don't know if she was expecting to be fed or if she had prior experience of getting food from people in cars, but it almost seemed that way," Beauilieu said.

"I didn't know what she was thinking."

Beaulieu says she was able to slowly creep her vehicle away from the bear, which ended up heading back toward its original path into the woods, three cubs in tow.

A moose't see!

Meanwhile in Inuvik, another rather large mama and kid were spotted by residents — two moose, across the parking lot at the hospital's clinic.

"Some people were walking by and they were just looking out the window and they were pointing and… they called us over and was like, 'There's some moose outside, you guys want to see?'" said Megan Ross, who works at the clinic's front desk caught a short video of the moose.

She says she's only seen moose once before in the Beaufort-Delta Region: at her grandparent's house in Aklavik, N.W.T.

"That's probably the first I've heard about moose being in town — like, right in town."

With files from Marc Winkler and Kaila Jefferd-Moore

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