‘Stay vigilant and stay aware’: grizzly bear attack serves as precautionary tale to Yukoners in northwest Canada

A file photo of a grizzly bear. An outreach officer with Yukon’s environment department is urging people in Canada’s northwestern Yukon territory to stay bear aware this time of year after a Monday attack left one person with serious injuries. (Jim Urquhart/The Associated Press)

A grizzly bear attack left a person severely injured on Monday, says Environment official

A person is recovering after being seriously injured by a grizzly bear Monday near Whitehorse, according to a spokesperson with Yukon’s Department of Environment.

During an interview Tuesday on CBC’s Midday Cafe, Jim Welsh said that to his knowledge, the injury is not life threatening and the individual has been giving the department information about what happened.

Welsh described it as a “classic case of a defensive bear encounter.”

He said the person was out for a run and “surprised … a grizzly bear with a cub.”

The incident happened in the Ibex Valley area, west of Whitehorse. Conservation officers have been monitoring the area all night and will continue to Tuesday afternoon, but Welsh said it seems the bears have moved on.

Welsh said encounters like this happen this time of year when bears are getting ready to hibernate, moving around and trying to collect food.

“The other side of this equation is Yukoners this time of year tend to start letting their guard down,” he said.

“People stop carrying their bear spray. They stop thinking about bears and bear safety as we transition into winter. And this incident is a great reminder for Yukoners to stay vigilant and stay aware and take precautionary steps to ensure they’re moving safe in the wilderness.”

He said the number one thing is to make a little noise in the woods. He said that can minimize the potential for encounters. He also urges Yukoners to be careful not to leave any animal wild game around their house.

“Check your property out, walk around, make sure there’s nothing there that can draw a bear in,” he said.

“We want to keep the bears safe but we want to keep all of our neighbours safe as well.”

-With files from Midday Cafe

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: ‘It bit me on my neck and I blacked out’: Man recalls last week’s polar bear attack in Nunavut, Canada, CBC News

Norway: Could drones help prevent polar bear attacks on the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard?, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Poachers suspected behind dwindling wolf numbers in Sweden, Radio Sweden

United States: After deadly bear attack, hikers in Anchorage, Alaska weigh risks, Alaska Public Media

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