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Bear trap set at Giant Mine

Christine Grimard
Northern News Services
Wednesday, August 1, 2007

YELLOWKNIFE - Wildlife officers have set a bear trap around the Giant Mine site, after multiple sightings of the animal milling about.

Tips for Bear Encounters

  • Don't startle the animal
  • Don't look it in the eye
  • Speak to the bear in a low voice as you slowly move away
  • Avoid areas with wild blueberries and roses.
  • The bear was last seen by security staff the morning of July 30 near the waterfall at Baker Creek, according to Bill Mitchell, federal clean-up manager for the mine site.

    The day prior, security staff reported seeing the bear near the old office complex. Security had been reporting seeing the bear on and off for the last month.

    Fearing for the worker's safety, wildlife officers have set up a trap to catch the bear. Albert Bourque, a renewable resource officer with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, could not say whether they would kill the bear, or try and relocate it once they've caught it.

    "It depends on the nature of the animal. If it's a large male, they have a strong home range," said Bourque. "They usually stake out a home territory and are likely to stay there for a while."

    The bear may be the same one caught around the area three years ago, said Bourque.

    Once the bear is caught, the officials can check to see if the animal has been previously captured and tagged.

    Ear tags and a lip tattoo are used to confirm a previously captured bear's identity.

    If it is the same animal, "it's a very good bear," according to Bourque, and they shouldn't have too many problems.

    Mitchell noted that bears sightings are pretty common around the site, and that all employees are equipped with bear bangers and bear spray.

    After the recent streak of sightings however, environment officers are trying to get the bear out of the area so employees won't run the risk of having a close encounter.

    "It's always a concern when there's a bear hanging around, walking in the area," said Bourque. "Human health and safety is paramount; it will prevail all the time."

    Bourque said the bear is likely attracted to the site because of the wild roses and blueberries that grow in the area.