Yukon North Of Ordinary

News archive for July 31, 2013

Driver modest about diverting running bear

The driver who diverted a black bear off Mountainview Drive last Sunday evening says he was just doing what anyone else would do in the same circumstances.


Photo by Vince Fedoroff

DECISIVE ACTION TAKEN – Michael Fred rescued two teenaged cyclists from an approaching bear on Mountainview Drive.

The driver who diverted a black bear off Mountainview Drive last Sunday evening says he was just doing what anyone else would do in the same circumstances.

In an interview Tuesday afternoon, Michael Fred said he was headed up the road when he saw the black bear coming across the artery after two female teenaged cyclists headed down the road.

The bear was only about two metres from the girls on their bikes.

Seeing how dangerous the situation was becoming, Fred put his foot on the gas pedal and swerved toward it.

“My intent was to get to it before it got to the kids,” the father of two told the Star.

The swerving pickup spooked the bear and it ran off the road away from the cyclists.

“They didn’t even realize (the bear was chasing them),” Fred said.

A hunter, Fred said he’s never seen a black bear react that way to cyclists.

Similarly, conservation officer Kris Gustafson, the manager of enforcement and compliance for Environment Yukon, said it’s rare for a bear to get so close to people.

After they realized what had happened, one of the girls completely froze while the other came running toward the two vehicles which had stopped, Fred said.

He put their bikes in the back of his truck and drove them home.

Janet Sanders, the other driver who was in the area at the time, lauded Fred as a hero during an interview Monday.

Fred, however, was quick to note that Sanders too was using her horn to scare the bear and may have diverted it from the road too if she had been in front.

The two traps set up to capture the bear were being removed this morning.

Environment Yukon spokeswoman Melissa Madden explained this morning that conservation officers have a high success rate of trapping bears in the Whitehorse area when needed.

If a bear isn’t caught, it usually means it has left the area, she said.

There’s been a number of other bear sightings around the city. Locations include the clay cliffs area between Two Mile Hill and Robert Service Way, and in Copper Ridge.

Reports of another bruin near the Canada Games Centre came in at around 11 p.m. Tuesday.

Conservation officers attended and watched the black bear until it left the area, Madden said.

Residents are reminded to keep the number of attractants – such as food, garbage and so on – to a minimum and take precautions, such as making sure garbage/compost lids are tightly closed to ensure odours aren’t present.

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