Group aims to reduce bear conflicts in Whitehorse

WildWise Yukon, a group that aims to curtail the number of conflicts between bears and people within Whitehorse, is hosting an open house this week to get feedback.

WildWise Yukon, a group that aims to curtail the number of conflicts between bears and people within Whitehorse, is hosting an open house this week to get feedback on its ongoing bear hazard assessment.

The group, run by seven volunteer board members, also includes members from Environment Yukon and the City of Whitehorse.

They’ve hired a consultant to come up with recommendations for reducing the number of incidents between bears and humans.

The recommendations will be ranked and presented to Whitehorse city council by the end of October, said Heather Ashthorn, a member of the group.

“Council will have a detailed report of what the issues are and they can address things like waste management systems or neighbourhood planning, things that attract bears into town when they normally wouldn’t necessarily want to go where there are people.”

On Thursday morning and Friday afternoon, members of the public are invited to the library’s meeting room to review some of the recommendations, offer suggestions and share their own stories of encounters with bears.

The open house is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Thursday and 2-6 p.m. on Friday.

 

Yukon College makes bear-proofing plans

A Yukon College instructor in renewable resources management and one of his students have developed their own bear assessment plan following years of bear activity near the Ayamdigut campus.

Scott Gilbert and Andrew Smith have prepared a report titled A Bear Risk Assessment for Yukon Place, in which they outline ways to limit bear activity in the area.

Conservation officers investigated bear activity in the Middle McIntyre Creek area 16 times between 2006 and 2014, according to the college. Six of those were on or adjacent to Ayamdigut campus, with four resulting in bear removal.

Some of the bear-deterring strategies include lowering the number of external garbage dumpsters, replacing some with self-locking bear-proof dumpsters and installing electric bear fences in two places.

“A proactive approach to managing wildlife, removing the food that attracts bears in the first place, will make the campus safer for both humans and bears,” Gilbert said in a news release.

This fall, Gilbert and some of the renewable resource management students will remove nearby soapberry bushes – which attract bears during the summer – to encourage the animals to forage further away from the college.

The college will be spending about $4,000 on implementing the new measures.

There have been 12 bear incidents reported so far this year, according to Environment Yukon, compared to approximately 49 reported between April 1 and Oct. 31, 2014.

Contact Myles Dolphin at

myles@yukon-news.com

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