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Black bear put down near N.J. Macpherson school after roaming through area on Sunday night

NJ Macpherson
N.J. Macpherson School in Yellowknife has been closed after a case of COVID-19 was confirmed on May 1, chief public health officer Dr. Kami Kandola said in a news release on May 1. NNSL photo

RCMP killed a black bear near N.J. Macpherson School in Yellowknife on Sunday night, said a spokesperson for the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR), on Monday.

ENR responded to reports around 10:30 p.m. of a black bear in the Finlayson Drive and Kam Lake Road area, said spokesperson Joslyn Oosenbrug.

Reports from the public indicated the bear was roaming along Finlayson Drive towards NJ Macpherson school.

An RCMP officer was driving along the east side of Frame Lake on Saturday night, warning pedestrians of the presence of a bear.
Blair McBride/NNSL photo

It was eventually located at a nearby apartment building, where it was eating from a dumpster.

RCMP "officers waited until the bear was in an area clear of people and property where RCMP could dispatch the bear safely. The bear was put down near N.J. Macpherson School at approximately 11 p.m," Oosenbrug said.

Killing the bear rather than tranquilizing it and transporting it to a more remote area was deemed the better choice out of concern for public safety.

“In the case on Sunday evening, it was clear that the bear was associating the human environment with food, and would likely present an ongoing risk to the public,” Oosenbrug said. “Additionally, tranquilizers take time to take effect and a bear can be unpredictable during this period. Given that this bear was in a densely populated area with people around, tranquilizing the bear was considered a greater public risk than euthanization.”

It wasn't possible to confirm whether the incident on Sunday involved the same bear that was spotted on Saturday night near Frame Lake, she said.

Around 8:30 p.m on Saturday, ENR responded to reports of a black bear that was moving from the south side of the lake, in the Northlands area, near the fire hall and William McDonald School.

"Wildlife officers were not able to locate the bear, which moved into the open area behind Con Mine," Oosenbrug said.

Although residents in the area reported hearing sounds like gunshots or bear bangers, Oosenbrug said ENR officers didn't discharge weapons or bear bangers, and aren't aware of shots fired by RCMP.

One RCMP officer was seen driving on the Frame Lake trail on the east side of the lake, warning pedestrians of the presence of the bear.

RELATED REPORTING: RCMP search for bear near Frame Lake

"ENR would like to thank the public for their reports and assistance," Oosenbrug said. "We live in bear country, and it is not uncommon for black bears to travel along the perimeter of Yellowknife. When a bear does enter a residential area, human safety is our number one priority. A bear that has become habituated to human activity, including garbage, can be dangerous and unpredictable."

Wildlife emergencies or bear sightings can be reported to ENR's 24-hour Wildlife Emergency Line in the North Slave at 867-873-7181.