The GNWT Department of Environment and Natural Resources is investigating a vehicular collision with a black bear that took place on Highway 3 about 30 kilometres past the turnoff to Rae last Sunday.
Petra Memedi was travelling on the highway from Yellowknife to Hay River where she spotted the lifeless black bear on the driver’s side of the shoulder of the road.
Memedi is an employee of Northern News Services Ltd.
Joslyn Oosenbrug, department spokesperson, stated in an email this week that ENR is aware of the situation and is in the process of investigating.
Typically when large game like a bear, bison or moose is struck on a highway, the department completes a wildlife collision form. Officials then follow up with the driver of the vehicle, Oosenbrug stated.
“The collision happened near kilometre marker 214 on Highway 3, on Sunday, August 9, 2020,” she stated. A report was received by ENR at 6:15 p.m.
Memedi said when she arrived at the scene, five occupants of a grey four-door car were outside the vehicle and were shaken when she spoke to them. None appeared to be injured.
“It happened just past the Rae turnoff and it was not a large bear, maybe a couple of years old,” she said.
“There was big time damage on the right front corner of the car. At least five occupants of the vehicle were travelling on their way to Fort Smith, inspecting the bear because they didn’t know what to do.”
Striking large animals is not a rare occurrence in the North, Oosenbrug added.
“It is not common for ENR to receive reports of bears being struck on highways in the North Slave Region,” she stated. “ENR would like to remind the public that if you do hit a bear (or any big game wildlife), you must report it by law under the NWT Wildlife Act. Report all big game wildlife collisions as soon as possible to 1-866-762-2437.”
The department recommends that drivers take precautions during the summer months as bears can be more active while searching for food before winter.
Drivers are asked to slow down at night and/or during times when there is poor visibility so to avoid collisions.
Occupants of vehicles should also keep their eyes on the road at all times and slow down to allow bears to cross if they are spotted.
Finally, people should always remain in their vehicles and never approach a bear.