Kyle “Wolf” Enzoe says he crossed paths with a grizzly bear near Vee Lake Road while out trapping on Oct. 25, but was only able to get footage of its tracks.
“I was out trapping for beaver in the area as I usually do, driving my truck when I saw the bear out near the road,” said Enzoe.
“Me and my passenger tried to drive up close to it before it ran away. I couldn’t grab a photo of it while I was driving.”
Vee Lake Road connects to the Ingram Trail just outside of Yellowknife, near the Giant Mine site. Enzoe identified the area as close to the Ingraham Trail intersection near a Giant Mine tailings pond called Moose Lake.
These tracks were unable to be identified as grizzly tracks by the GNWT’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR).
“ENR officers attempted to locate the bear, but were unable to find any tracks due to the recent snowfall,” stated Joslyn Oosenbrug, ENR communications officer in a Monday email.
“While we can confirm these are indeed bear tracks, we cannot confirm with certainty they are grizzly bear tracks without further analysis (measurements).”
Enzoe said this was the first time he’s seen a grizzly in Yellowknife but he has seen them many times before while growing up in the Whitefish Lake area, NWT.
“It was certainly a grizzly,” said Enzoe. “It was an older male, big claws, rounded off teeth, a brown coat and a hump on its back. Black bears don’t have that hump.”
He said the animal looked skinny and in rough shape, which makes the animal “very dangerous” and was part of his rationale for posting his video to Facebook.
“If it was a healthy animal I might not have said anything or just posted something small,” said Enzoe.
“I’ll do whatever I can to help the community and make sure people are aware of this animal.”
ENR says that although it is mostly uncommon, there have been instances of grizzlies coming near town before.
“When animals migrate out of their normal range, the most common cause would be that there are not enough resources in their area to survive and they must look elsewhere for those resources, most likely food,” stated Oosenbrug.
“Grizzly bears (as with all bears) have a powerful sense of smell and can travel hundreds of kilometres in search of food.”
Enzoe said he contacted the Giant Mine Remediation Team to get word to the GNWT’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
ENR recommends that anyone who spots a bear should report the sighting directly to their North Slave Regional office at 1-867-767-9238 or in an emergency call 1-867-873-7181.
If you encounter a grizzly bear, ENR recommends you:
- At a distance, alert the bear you are there and back away slowly, scare it with noise if they start approaching you.
- Close, back away slowly and quietly without startling the bear.
- Very close, stand your ground.
- If the bear charges, play dead, lay on your stomach to protect your vital organs and cross your fingers behind your neck.
- If the bear treats you like prey, fight back.
In November 2004, the department shot a grizzly bear, described as an older male and in bad shape, near Kam Lake after it charged a wildlife officer a few kilometres outside Yellowknife.
Another grizzly bear was reported near Berry Hill, near the Vee Lake Road, in April 2012.
The 2004 report was the first recorded grizzly to enter the Yellowknife area. Their typical range is found in the Barrenlands at least 200 kilometres north of the city.