Dawson conservation officers examine a pile of garbage, meat, fish and animal carcasses at the end of the Klondike River access road on May 12. The pile attracted a black bear to the area, which is opposite the Bear Creek subdivision. ( Submitted/Department of Environment)

Dawson conservation officers investigating after garbage, animal parts attracts black bear

Conservation officers found a black bear at the pile at the end of Klondike River access road May 12

Conservations officers in the Dawson area are investigating after a pile of litter, meat, fish and animal carcasses discarded near the Bear Creek subdivision attracted a black bear to the area.

In an interview May 17, conservation officer Peter Gibson said that he and a colleague responded to a report about the pile, at the end of the Klondike River access road, the afternoon of May 12, a day after a dog walker had called it in.

Upon arrival, Gibson said they found an adult black bear feeding on a skinned beaver carcass.

According to a post shared on the Yukon Conservation Officer Services Facebook page, the pile contained “a number of wildlife attractants,” including the carcasses of a black wolf pup and a red fox, approximately 15 salmon fillets in vacuum-packed plastic and about 20 pounds of packaged moose meat.

There were three people sitting about 50 feet away from the pile and the bear, Gibson said, apparently having a picnic and oblivious to the situation.

Conservation officers alerted the picnickers to what was happening and, after they left the area, used bear bangers and rubber bullets fired at the ground to chase the bear into the bush.

After the bear left, officers bagged the contents of the pile, which have since been placed in cold storage.

Gibson said that while it was his first time encountering fur-bearing animal carcasses discarded in that manner, it’s impossible to say at this point how the fox and wolf pup died.

While it’s not common for conservation officers to come across improperly-discarded animal parts in the Dawson area, Gibson said it’s not unheard of.

Conservation officers are now investigating the potential officences of fur and meat wastage, littering, and causing a nuisance bear.

“Right now, what we’re hoping is that somebody will come forward and let us know what they know, because probably, somebody knows something about this, and we don’t know the full story right now,” Gibson said. “It could be that there’s a reason that this happened and we do want to know about (it). Ideally, the person who put it there will come forward and talk to us.”

Gibson added that it’s important for residents to store and discard of attractants properly, as bears are now active in the region, particularly in the valley.

Two bears in the Dawson region that had become habituated to human food sources and were causing damage to property have already been killed this season, he confirmed.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Dawson conservation officers at 993-5492 or the TIPP line at 1-800-661-0525.

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

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