The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) has received several reports of wandering bears over the last 24 hours in Dettah and Yellowknife.

“Officers responded today to an active sighting in the Stanton parking lot,” stated Mike Westwick, manager of communications and public affairs for ENR. “An officer patrolled and worked with hospital staff to limit use of the sliding doors and encourage staff and patients to limit their time outside while the officers are responding, unless going directly to vehicles. We will continue to follow up in the area as necessary – and advise folks to be vigilant in the area.

“We recognize these situations are very stressful, but encourage people to stay calm, avoid the area if possible and please follow all instructions from ENR officers and security on site.”

Other bear sightings point towards the trail network in Yellowknife, including “a report from an individual approached by two bears with little fear shown.”

As a result of the encounters in the municipality’s trail systems — Frame Lake, Tin Can Hill, and near the airport — ENR recommends “avoiding these areas if you can, especially after dark, until further updates are provided.”

ENR officers are patrolling on foot and by all-terrain vehicles in the trail system.

Signage is up in areas where bear sightings have been indicated.

“Given bear activity in the area and the time of year, it is important for people to be bear aware in all areas in and around the city,” an ENR statement reads. “If you do use the trail system or must go in areas where bears have been reported, be vigilant, carry bear spray or bear bangers if you can, travel in groups wherever possible, keep your kids close, do not let your pets off-leash, and know what to do when you come across a bear.”

Tips have been provided below if a bear is near you:

-Stand your ground. Don’t make any sudden moves, back up slowly and avoid direct eye contact.

-Make yourself look as big as possible – consider getting to higher ground if you can.

-Yell as loudly as you can and tell the bear not to come back. Bang together sticks or other loud items and wave your arms slowly.

-Leave a route for the bear to escape.

-Get your bear spray ready and spray the bear directly in the face if it charges.

Whenever it is safe, call ENR right awa at 867-873-7181 so officers can respond fast. Every second counts, and phoning the on-call officer is the best way to get fast response.

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