Yukon Southern Lakes Region Grizzly Bear Population Study


Environment Yukon is studying grizzly bears in the Yukon Southern Lakes Region. The study began in June of 2009.

This study is being done in collaboration with the First Nations. The Southern Lakes Wildlife Coordinating Committee also provided direction on the study.

Current estimates of grizzly bear numbers are based on local knowledge, outfitter experience, harvest history and expert opinion. Environment Yukon needs more detailed information in order to sustainably manage this harvested population.

The study area covers the important grizzly bear ranges between Tagish Lake and Kusawa Lake, from the Alaska Highway south to the British Columbia border.

Southern Lakes residents, visitors & hunters please be aware

Have you seen a grizzly bear den?

If you've seen a den, contact us. Let us know roughly where you saw it – a GPS location would be ideal.

Grizzly Den Study Poster icon image - this is a pdf file110 KB

Tube traps

Tube Traps will be set throughout the Southern Lakes area. Signs will be posted - avoid these areas. If you come across a trap, leave the area immediately.

Southern Lakes Bear Traps Poster icon image - this is a pdf file 845 KB

Report collared bears

If you see a collared bear, contact us. Please provide a description of the bear, a location, time/date, what it was doing, and GPS location if possible.

If you accidentally shoot a collared bear

If you accidentally shoot a collared bear, contact us. There are no penalties as long as you report the kill and return the collar to Environment Yukon.

Environment Yukon and local communities invest a lot of time and money in wildlife studies. Animals that wear or have worn collars provide information that helps us understand the way they use the land, their relationship with other species and how human activities affect them.

Hunters Check for Tattoos

If you've killed a black or grizzly bear in the Southern Lakes area - please check the inside of the lip for tattoos. Tattoos may fade over time so it is important to look carefully.

A tattoo indicates the bear has been tranquilized. Contact us - we can tell you if it the meat is edible.


Projects included in the study

Learn more about what we've been working on by reading the Grizzly Bear Research Activity Update - April 2013 image222 KB

Capturing and collaring

Between five and 15 bears have annually worn collars.

Hair gathering

We began a hair-gathering project in 2012. This project will provide information on the grizzly bear population by collecting hair samples from bears using special ‘traps’. These traps are designed to snag small samples of hair from the bears by attracting them to predetermined sites. An analysis of DNA from the hair samples provides more information about the density of bears in the study area and how the bears are related to one another by examining the genetic structure of the population.

Read more: Catching hair not bears for DNA analysis image608 KB

Scat gathering

Biologists are interested in understanding what bears are eating in the Southern Lakes area, so they are asking people that spend time on the land to help by collecting bear scats throughout the year.

Traditional knowledge

There will also be a local and traditional knowledge component to this study that will be lead by the region’s First Nations.




Contact Species Programs

Environment Yukon

Government of Yukon

Box 2703 (V-5A)
Whitehorse, Yukon
Canada Y1A 2C6

Phone: 867-393-7423
Toll free (in Yukon): 1-800-661-0408 local 7423
Fax: 867-393-6263

Email: carnivore@gov.yk.ca