A barrel of an unknown substance burns as empty containers lay scattered amongst auto wreckage near the corner of Boulder and Clifton Roads in the MacRae East industrial park on July 12. Conservation officers have killed three bears due to the dumping of waste.(Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Yukon COs kill 3 bears attracted to ‘waste’ stored at Whitehorse junkyard

‘If it can smell like food (a bear is) on it, and it’s happening all over the place.’

Conservation officers killed three bears in the MacRae East industrial park this week due to the dumping of what Environment Yukon is calling “human-provided waste.”

The bears appear to have been attracted to large burning barrels at an automobile junkyard. Conservation officers were on site the past two days to deal with the incident, Environment Yukon spokesperson Erin Loxam said.

Environment Yukon has issued a dangerous wildlife protection order against the property owner, located on Boulder Road. The order requires the property owner remove the attractant within a specific timeframe. Loxam declined to identify the property owner, because there could be a matter for further investigation if the owner does not comply.

Any other bears that have been regularly visiting the property are being relocated while the site is being cleaned up, Loxam wrote in an e-mail. Reports of bears have been limited to the one property in this case, she said.

Loxam said conservation officers have seen an overall spike in bear sightings in Whitehorse neighbourhoods over the last 10 days.

“Usually at this time of year bears start to move out of the residential area.… We’re just seeing a lower number of those because of what the weather’s been like,” she said, citing a shortage of berries this season.

“People really need to be vigilant about managing their attractants…. If it can smell like food (a bear is) on it, and it’s happening all over the place.”

Attractants includes garbage, chicken coops, gardens and pet food. Any human-bear conflicts should be reported to the TIPP line at 1-867-661-0525.

Contact Kallan Lyons at kallan.lyons@yukon-news.com

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