Yukon’s Wilderness City is having a problem with bears this summer - APTN NewsAPTN News

Yukon’s Wilderness City is having a problem with bears this summer


Shirley McLean
APTN National News

Yukon’s Wilderness city is having a problem with bears wandering into its neighbourhoods.

So far this year, 48 bears have been killed in the Yukon and around Whitehorse after coming in contact with humans.

The bears are choosing fast, high calorie meals like garbage over their natural food sources.

Flory Enzenauer lives in a new Whitehorse subdivision with newly paved walking trails.

“There was a lady walking her dog,” said Ensuenauer. “I heard a blood scream coming from there.”


(Photos courtesy Yukon Conservation) 

Double the number of bears have been killed by conservation officers or residents compared to last year.

One bear was shot for chasing vehicles and motorcycles along the Alaska Highway.

But most bears are being killed after coming into conflict with humans and their properties.

“A bear will always follow its nose and if it can not find natural food sources such as berries they’re going to look for where it’s easily available,” said Aaron Koss-Young, a conservation officer in Whitehorse.

“And if they can easily find that in a person’s yard that’s where they’re going to look.”

Yukon conservation officers said it’s hard to determine why there is more human conflicts with bears.

But attractants like garbage, back yard chicken coops and changes in weather patterns are bringing the bears to search for other food sources.

“I can see from this summers weather patterns that it has had an impact on berry production in the forest and the late green up in the spring and all those things can contribute to increases in bear activity and conflict,” said Koss-Young.

Flory Enzenauer and other Whitehorse residents believe it’s the city’s garbage service that is the problem.

And the fact that garbage and compost pick up alternate twice a month.


Anybody in the Yukon can shoot a bear in defense of their life or their property as long as they report the kill.

Conservation officers said relocating a problem bear doesn’t always work once it has had a taste of garbage and other easy pickings.

“It’s very high, rich calorie diet when they start getting into garbage or bird seeds, dog food, and a bear is hard to dissuade from doing those kinds of things,” said Koss-Young.

The best way of keeping a bear from being destroyed is to keep your attractants securely stored, installing electric fences around chicken coops and having bear proof garbage bins.

Because Whitehorse isn’t’ called the wilderness city for nothing.

Contact Shirley here: smclean@aptn.ca

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