WHITEHORSE – Parks Canada and Yukon Conservation officials were forced to shoot a popular bear affectionately known as ‘Smokey’ after it approached campers and hikers informing them about fire safety along the Chilkoot Pass.
The 72-year-old American black bear was a long-time employee of the US Forest Service and a popular mascot for children, but was nonetheless a bear and therefore a very real threat to human life.
“We had reports from hikers of a bear pouring water on campfires, encouraging the construction of small, manageable fires, and rummaging through hiker’s food,” explained Parks Canada official Darren Blaskey. “We managed to track the bear by following a trail of fire safety posters where the bear was located and promptly euthanized.”
Parks Canada and Yukon Conservation have advised hikers to never approach a mascot no matter how educational or cuddly they are.