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Environment Yukon wants to minimize human-wildlife conflicts in order to protect human health and safety, maintain biodiversity and reduce property damage. While prevention is always the best approach, a more forceful response is sometimes needed if a significant risk to human health or property is present.
All Yukoners can and should play a role in reducing the potential for Human-Wildlife conflict.
Below is information about prevention measures for everyone as well as the actions Environment Yukon may take in the event of a serious incident. Environment Yukon strives to provide a consistent management response to human-wildlife conflict.
- What is Human-Wildlife Conflict?
- Preventing Human-Wildlife Conflict
- Environment Yukon's Approach
- Additional Resources
- Contact Us
(July 30, 2015) -- Environment Yukon advises Carcross residents that they will attempt to undertake an “aversive conditioning” program with two grizzly bear family groups starting today in the Choutla Subdivision. The program should last about a week depending on the reaction of the bears.
While the community has garbage and compost well managed, the bears are regularly seen in yards and crossing streets thanks to soap berry and other berry patches in the area. The Carcross Tagish First Nation supports efforts to discourage the bears from staying in the area.
Two family groups are involved: a sow with one cub, and a collared sow with two cubs. A live trap has been set to attempt to capture and collar the first sow over the next few days.
Aversive conditioning involves the use of something unpleasant, or a punishment, to stop an unwanted behavior. In this instance, bear-bangers, lights, trained dogs and (if needed) rubber bullets or paintballs to discourage bears from being in the community. Some of this activity may take place late in the evening, and may disturb residents briefly.
Human-Wildlife Conflict is any interaction between wildlife and humans which causes harm, whether it’s to the human, the wild animal, or property. (Property includes buildings, equipment and camps, livestock and pets, but does not include crops fields or fences.)
Some examples of human-wildlife conflict that occur in the Yukon include:
- Foxes, wolves, coyotes, porcupines and bears frequenting residential areas
- Predation on livestock or domestic animals by wildlife
- Ungulate damage to crops and fences
- Flooding caused by beavers
- Wildlife strewing about residential garbage
- Squirrels or bats in home attics
- Birds nesting in undesirable residential locations
- Vehicle/wildlife collisions
While prevention is the best way to avoid human-wildlife conflict, we recognize that sometimes incidents are unavoidable. The Wildlife Act does allow you to kill wildlife in self-defense and, in some cases, in defense of property. Killing of wildlife for these reasons seldom happens in Yukon, however.
Most human-wildlife conflict incidents are caused by human behavior, such as poor handling of attractants. If an animal succeeds in getting an easy meal from some improperly stored garbage or food, it is almost certain to return or seek the same food source elsewhere.
Animals that are human or food conditioned or habituated can be dangerous.
Yukon’s small population shares a vast land base with a wealth of wildlife. We are each responsible for conducting our lives and business in a way that minimizes impacts on local wildlife.
The Yukon Government undertakes a wide range of actions designed to prevent human-wildlife conflict, including:
- Managing parks, solid waste facilities, campgrounds, highway rest stops etc. consistent with the Wildlife Act requirement that people prevent wildlife from becoming a public nuisance.
- Educating residents and visitors about best practices for avoiding human-wildlife conflict.
- Considering the impact of new developments on wildlife in decision-making and permitting.
- Working with businesses and individuals to ensure their activities are aimed at reducing conflicts with wildlife, particularly for those who work or play in the wild.
Yukon Conservation Officers follow a detailed operational directive when responding to conflicts between humans and wildlife. The operational directive is based on the following principles:
Principles for Preventing Human-Wildlife Conflict:
- Prevention of conflict situations through education, awareness and safe practices is the highest priority.
- Residents, governments, industry and visitors can and should play a role in reducing the potential for human-wildlife conflict.
- Government and non-governmental agencies have limited resources to devote to human-wildlife conflicts, and need to rely on every individual, industry and business to do their part to reduce the potential for conflict.
Principles for Responding to Human-Wildlife Conflict:
- The protection of human life is the highest priority in a human-wildlife conflict situation.
- When responding to human-wildlife conflict occurrences, decisions will be based on the minimum response necessary to achieve the objective of protecting human life and/or property.
- Wildlife is an important aspect of living in Yukon. There are both risks and benefits associated with living in a wilderness environment.
These principles were reviewed and affirmed by a working group comprising representatives from government, environmental organizations, and those industry sectors whose main activity increases exposure to human-wildlife conflict.
- Assessing and Responding to Animal Behaviour Guidelines (21 KB) Details the types of incidents we may encounter and the range or response for each
Conservation Officer Services
Government of Yukon
Box 2703 (V-18)
Phone (Whitehorse): 867-667-8005
District Conservation Officers: