If you stumble upon a carefully-prepared snack of sardines and pineapples in Whitehorse, don’t eat it : it’s for the bear.
Conservation officers set traps and warning signs after a brown bear was seen around Two Mile Hill, the Upper Tank Farm and the Black Street stairs in the past days.
“It looks like a bear that we saw last year and that didn’t get into too much trouble,” said Ken Knutson, a conservation officer with Yukon Environment.
The goal is to avoid the bear from getting into garbage, which would lead to conflicts with people.
Once the bear is caught, conservations officers want to drop it outside of town, hoping it won’t return to the city.
Knutson encourages people to learn about bears, and be on the lookout for signs of bear activity when going on trails.
“Look for fresh tracks or scats, that might indicate a bear is ahead of you,” he said.
If you do encounter a bear, move out of the area but don’t run. “Move away, talk to it, wave your arm, make yourself big,” said Knutson.
It’s also recommended to carry bear spray in case a bear decides to charge. The spray can reach up to six metres.
“The idea is that it gets into the bear’s eyes, nose, lungs and causes a burning sensation,” he said.
The noise of the canister discharging can also scare the bear off said Knutson, because of the loud hiss.
The traps set up by conservation officers are cylindrical boxes with spring-loaded doors activated when the bear steps in to eat the bait. Officials are asking people not to approach the traps as a bear may be in the area.
Conservation officials ask the public to contact the TIPP line at 1-800-661-0525 if they see any bear activity in Whitehorse. They’re also reminding people to only put garbage and compost bins outside the morning of the pick up, not in advance the night before.