Chicken owners urged to electrify coops

It's grizzly season and environment Yukon is pleading with the public to keep small animals like chickens secured from bears with electric fencing. Another grizzly bear was trapped and relocated this weekend.

It’s grizzly season and environment Yukon is pleading with the public to keep small animals like chickens secured from bears with electric fencing.

Another grizzly bear was trapped and relocated this weekend. The bear gained access to a chicken coop in the Spirit Lake area south of Whitehorse, killing 20 chickens. This is the second bear captured in the Whitehorse area and relocated because of conflicts with chicken coops in May.

Enforcement manager Ryan Hennings said this is becoming an increasingly alarming trend with bears – especially grizzlies – in the last three years. They are working hard to get the message out to people that bears will go after the food that is most readily available.

“Attractants like garbage at a dump or chicken coops, that’s a pretty easy meal and they will take it over other sources of food any day,” he explained.

Environment Yukon in partnership with the agriculture branch recently hosted a workshop to demonstrate how inexpensive and easy it is to electrify a fence. Hennings said electric fencing for smaller coops or even pig pens can be easily ordered online for under $200 or found at local feed stores. For off-grid use, the solar panels and charging units add to that cost.

The elimination of conflict is well worth it, both for bears and taxpayers, said Hennings. In this most recent relocation, he said the middle of the night call-out added overtime labour. Three environment officials had to come out on Sunday to immobilize the bear and ear-tag it, then it took another two officers a full day’s work to relocate the bear to the desired 150 kilometres. In cases where a flight is necessary, costs are even higher.

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