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Yukoners warned to stay bear-aware after grizzly attack in Ibex Valley

“It was the classic case of a defensive bear,” says Jim Welsh
A file photo of grizzly bear along the highway outside Dawson City. Conservation officers are warning to remain bear-aware through the fall. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon News file)

Residents and motorists in the Ibex Valley are being asked to remain cautious and on the lookout for a Grizzly bear following a human-wildlife conflict on Oct. 18.

The individual is receiving medical attention and the extent of the injuries is unknown at this time, though they are not life-threatening.

Conservation officers are on the scene and monitoring the area. Several “Bear in Area” signs have been posted and residents are being told to avoid Wanners Way Trails.

Jim Welsh, the Hunter Education and Outreach Officer in the Conservation Officer Services branch, said the person was running when they neared a Grizzly sow with a cub.

“Yesterday’s events is a very classic example of a defensive bear,” said Welsh. “They were moving through the woods quickly and quietly, came across the bear and startled it.”

Welsh said the bear reacted exactly how a sow with a cub would.

“She tried to defend it and made contact with this person then immediately left the area,” said Welsh. “This situation could have been avoided if the bear knew the person was there, so making noise in the bush is really important.”

After the attack, Welsh said conservation officers interviewed the affected person, who was bitten several times, while others went into the area to find the bear.

“If they find it, the goal is to haze it out of the area and give it a chance to leave,” said Welsh.

Welsh said conservation officers want to maintain a “negative habituation” between humans and bears.

“We don’t want them too comfortable around us,” said Welsh.

If found, Welsh said the intention is not to kill the bear.

“In a defence attack situation, the bear isn’t typically intending to kill someone, they just want the threat removed from the situation and they leave,” said Welsh. “So far, we haven’t seen this bear again. It’s possible that it has left the area completely.”

Along with searching for the bear, Welsh said conservation officers have been doing property checks around the area.

“We are reminding people to put their attractants away,” said Welsh. “This time of year we have moose hunters butchering moose and meat scraps are around, and there are lots of attractants around.

“We really want to encourage people to put that stuff away.”

The fall before winter sets in is an important time of year for Yukoners, said Welsh.

“This is a time when we tend to let our guard down,” said Welsh. “People stop carrying bear spray and they’re transitioning into kind of their winter mindset.”

This time of year is active for bears.

“They have to collect a lot of food energy to deal with winter,” said Welsh. “Right now they have a big push and they’re moving around a lot. They’re engaging with our community more.”

If you spot a bear and the bear or humans could be at risk, you can report it at all times by calling the TIPP line at 1-800-661-0525.

For a bear awareness and bear spray refresher, Welsh suggests people visit the Department of Environment’s YouTube page.

Contact John Tonin at