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  • Writer's pictureLorna Hamilton

Bear Shot Dead In Vermilion Provincial Park: Wildlife Violation Sparks Investigation


The Black bear that was discovered by Vermilion resident Mitchel Yonkman after it was shot. Photo credit Mitchel Yonkman@yonkmanadventures

In the quiet expanse of Vermilion Provincial Park, a tragic incident has stirred both concern and outrage among residents. Last week, a series of unsettling encounters unfolded as bears, fresh from hibernation, ventured into the backyards of homes bordering the park’s wilderness. However, what began as a wildlife spectacle ended in tragedy on May 2 when Vermilion local Mitchel Yonkman stumbled upon a deceased black bear within the park’s confines.

Disturbing images of the fallen bear circulated swiftly on social media, prompting a swift response from concerned citizens and wildlife authorities alike. The Alberta Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Services were immediately contacted for clarification on the distressing matter.

In a statement provided to the Vermilion Voice by Calli Forbes, Assistant Communications Director of Public Safety and Emergency Services Communications and Public Engagement for the Government of Alberta, the severity of the incident was underscored. “On May 2, we became aware of an incident near Vermilion where a bear had been shot and left. Fish and Wildlife are actively investigating this matter, and there is currently limited information to share. However, there are indications of a potential violation under the Wildlife Act.”

As the investigation unfolds, questions linger regarding the fate of other bears roaming the area. Forbes shed light on ongoing efforts by Alberta Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Services to address the situation. “Alberta Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Services currently have culvert traps set and are actively trying to capture black bears that are in or adjacent to the town of Vermilion. Bears may not repeatedly return to the same location, so traps aren’t always immediately successful in capturing the offending bear.”

In light of these events, Forbes emphasized the importance of proactive measures to mitigate human-bear encounters. “It is important that residents eliminate any items that may act as an attractant to bears, such as garbage, compost, bird feeders or pet food. Bears that have become food-conditioned or habituated to humans may need to be euthanized.”

For concerned citizens seeking further guidance, the Alberta BearSmart Program offers valuable resources and strategies for coexisting with wildlife. (For more information, visit: https://www.alberta.ca/alberta-bearsmart-program-overview)

The severity of such violations under the Wildlife Act cannot be overstated. Any individual found guilty may face penalties including fines of up to $50,000, imprisonment of up to one year, or both. To report suspicious or illegal hunting activity, or dangerous wildlife encounters, Albertans are urged to utilize the Report A Poacher line at 1-800-642-3800 or visit Report A Poacher | Alberta.ca.

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